Leading with Laughter: The Power of Humor in Leadership | Paul Osincup | TEDxNapaValley

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I want to start by addressing what I'm pretty sure you're all thinking right now which is man that guy looks just like Bruce Willis and Danny DeVito had a kid yeah thanks I actually wish that wasn't very funny I've always loved joking around not necessarily always at my own expense I mean like anyone else I was a silly goofy kid but eventually it's time to grow up and get serious and get a job and I did I got my master's degree I went on to get a great job appointed in the administration of a large university I'll never forget my first day walking into my very own office and my very own administrative assistant had placed a cup of coffee next to the computer and the newspaper on my desk for me so clearly in my own head at this point I'm a pretty big deal now the don't let me kid you though I mean the job itself was interim which means it's your job now but if you suck we're going to replace you so I knew I had to make it impact right away early on in that role I had the opportunity to go to a conference out of state with seven other colleagues out to Wisconsin with seven other colleagues from the institution I thought this is a great opportunity for me to get to know these people they'll come back tell my bosses how great I am and I'm sure to keep that job for a long time so on the last day of the conference we had time to kill before a flight left so the eight of us went to an outlet mall everybody split off and went to their department store they wanted to shop at except me I wasn't feeling very good and maybe too many fried cheese curds or something the night before we were in Wisconsin and so I went to the department store that I was sure had a restroom and a little bit later a little bit later is I'm leaving the stall that I that I was in I stopped because I heard a weird sound it was like clip-clop clip-clop and I was like that's a weird sound to hear in a men's restroom that sounds like high heels and then I hear a voice from outside go okey-dokey Barbara we'll just wait right out here for you and I was like oh man is she gonna feel dumb when she realizes she's in the wrong bathroom but then I kind of think to my hurried entrance into the restroom and I think you know what I don't recall seeing any urinals on my way in and I began to sweat a little bit kind of freak out and then I actually thought to earlier that morning when I was sitting in the lobby with all my new colleagues I'm trying to impress sitting in the lobby of the hotel no joke there was a news story on that day about a guy who had been arrested in a Florida Airport for going into people's bathroom stalls so now I'm like freaking out like what have I done I'm gonna get arrested here meanwhile a lion has formed in the bathroom and there's only two stalls there's one I'm in and the one that I guess Barbara is in next to me and so I'm like one of my options here I knew I just had to wait until the line had dissipated and I could I could get out of there but in the meantime what what happens if somebody knocks on the door and says hey is everything okay in there do I go like oh just a second no I just like own it and be like hold on a minute I'm busy you know like oh my gosh I hope she's okay but I knew I had to take my time wait till the line clears that it did and then I ran out of there as fast as I could undetected as I'm running out though there's a little boy walking up to the restrooms and he looks at me and I look at him and I was like yeah make your own decisions kid and I just run out and go meet up with my colleagues and they're all excited about the clothes they got you know they're like oh I got this cute little tank top and these capris Paul would you get and I was like not arrested but I didn't have to tell him about what happened but I did and they didn't have to laugh at me they all the whole way home but they did and they should and I but I don't think it costs me any professional credibility or respect in a weird way it kind of brought us closer together I've always been interested in the role that humor and not taking ourselves too seriously plays in our interaction with other people we live in a world right now where interacting with other people is becoming optional and people are pining for leaders and mentors who are relatable and imperfect and God forbid a little silly sometimes I know some of you like the stories and anecdotes but others are thinking yeah okay man I need to see some like hard data graphs and charts so I made one up for you every every every presentation has to have an obligatory chart but in my experience how seriously other people take us is inversely related to how seriously we take ourselves I mean if if we can't laugh at ourselves there's always someone there to do it for us and today people are turning their backs on impersonal and bureaucratic management and leadership in fact sixty percent of Millennials are leaving their jobs within the first three years because they feel like it's just not a good culture fit for them and when asked to describe the characteristic traits of the best leaders in their organizations the terms like work ethic and sense of humor are mentioned twice as often as any other trait or characteristic now they shouldn't be that big of a surprise because some of the greatest leaders throughout history didn't take themselves too seriously Abraham Lincoln's a great example he was up giving a speech and someone interrupted and yelled from the crowd you're two-faced Abe Lincoln he could got mad yelled something back or just went on pretend he didn't hear him but when they yelled you're two-faced Abe Lincoln he just smiled and said if I had two faces you really think I would choose to wear this one it all aim and that's funny I mean that's funny for obvious reasons too soon say I know it's only been 150 years you like take it easy on Abraham Lincoln man but I didn't say it he did cuz he didn't take himself that seriously the fact is humor reduces social distance between people and it makes leaders seem more approachable and less stressful and it's great for organizations as well humor increases morale and productivity and it sparks creativity and Trust but perhaps one of the best things that humor does for us is that it often leads to laughter and it turns out that laughter is really good for us laughter actually increases blood flow at our body it reduces muscle tension and laughter actually massages our internal organs I don't even know what the hell that means but that sounds great meanwhile since I've had an internal organ massages ha ha ha oh whoa I think that was my pancreas very nice okay and you know laughter actually burns calories you're burning calories right now one solid minute of laughter could have a similar effect on your body as 10 minutes on a rowing machine yeah now everybody's gonna go home and be like I'm going to Nick Donald's it's good for us it's good for us and you don't even have to really be laughing to get those physiological benefits because your body doesn't know the difference between a fake laugh and a real laugh and coincidentally I don't know the difference between a fake laugh and a real app either so if I say something that's not that funny feel free to just laugh anyway for your own benefit yeah great example great example up front a very good oh now you're just showing off uh but laughter is really good for us and you know who gets that our kids how many of you have kids or ever were kid Oh some of you good good some people are still like not me I was born an adult straight out of the womb and off to my first board meeting then do an afternoon spin class but for those of us who have kids or were a kid you could notice that kids laugh much more often than we do you know the average four-year-old last 300 times a day the average 40 year old for and even little babies laugh which blows my mind because I'm like baby why are you laughing you don't even know what funny is yet right but they must just laugh because it naturally feels good to them at least that's what I tell myself cuz I go up and look at a little baby and then they just start laughing and I'm like yeah they must just laugh because it feels good either that or I have met a lot of incredibly rude babies but kids love to laugh and there is really something genius about being childlike and finding 300 things a day to laugh about in fact I was showing a friend you know if you look up the word childlike in a thesaurus you actually get the word ingenious and she goes I am and I think that's ingenuously I don't yeah it's so I got humming in yourself means the same thing whatever okay I like ingenious we're gonna go with the genius all right it's fine but it's not just kids it's not just kids that love to laugh in fact in her book the top five regrets of the dying a palliative care nurse brawny we're said that one of the most common regrets of people in hospice care is that they wish they could have stopped pretending to other people in their lives so often and that they wish they could just have laughed more often and have more silliness in their lives again I kept that job at the University and was later even promoted and actually that year the vice president asked me if I would host the university's staff awards banquet which of course I agreed to do dressed in character is a fictional College 70s basketball star because why not who cares life like me is too short we all have a childlike spark inside of us that we just need to let out more often an ingenious silliness that is a gift to the people around us in our lives that says hey when you're with me you don't have to be perfect and serious all the time and when you're around me we can have fun and make mistakes and be ourselves because in the end life is far too important to be taken seriously you
Channel: TEDx Talks
Views: 325,741
Rating: 4.9048896 out of 5
Keywords: TEDxTalks, English, United States, Business, Career, Creativity, Humor, Ideas, Leadership, Learning, Start-up, Work
Id: yhokMZdQ7gs
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Length: 11min 45sec (705 seconds)
Published: Tue May 31 2016
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