Funny … that’s empowering!

I was reading a Management Type of the Day from Harvard Business Review – “Find the 3 Ingredients to Job Satisfaction” http://web.hbr.org/email/archive/managementtip.php?date=033011 – and thinking about “mastering what you are good at”.  

A good manager develops their employees’ strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses.  Having once worked for a manager who criticized my work but never appreciated or praised work I performed, I know how demoralizing that can be.  I don’t think this only applies to the boardroom.  I would say that it is something to live by in how we relate to ourselves, to others, and to the world.  

It’s easy to focus on the hardship in the world we live in and it’s easy to focus on people’s weaknesses and rush to judgement.  On any given day we can surely focus on the things we did that were “wrong” – an interaction with a colleague, a harshly worded email, a rushed phone call that we regret.  The challenge is to build on the positives, what IS working in the world, in our lives, in our work.

When I am collaborating with someone who sees my strengths and builds upon them it is empowering – and visa-versa.  It is an improvisational scene in which we build on the offers our partner gives, rather than negating them.  Creativity and innovation arises from this activity.

As a performer of improv comedy humor is one of my strengths, with all of the interpersonal capabilities that go along with my improvisational tool kit.  I have found that using humor and improv in variety of business situations is incredibly valuable and, in my opinion, is under-utilized.

Here’s a wonderful video that exemplifies the playful use of humor in a business setting – enjoy!

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2011/04/management