….the Other ‘F’ Word
No doubt, as leaders, we deal with some pretty tough stuff on a regular basis. It’s par for the course. As a matter of fact, some of my clients (once they become comfortable enough to let their guard down) may slip and use the ‘f’ word a time or two. Sometimes the situation has piqued, so I just let it go in one ear and out the other.
I’m a big fan of reducing the pressure – kind of like when we have a balloon blown up too tight – just letting a little bit of air out, helps tremendously. Same idea with people. Sometimes just ‘getting it off our chest’ reduces the pressure point enough that we can take a deep breath and … deal with ‘it’. Then there are some industries are so used to hearing profanity in the shop that it doesn’t shock anyone.
But I’m talking about the other ‘f’ word here.
With stress levels piquing and deadlines looming, it’s not uncommon that the tension in the workplace can get pretty thick. However, the neuroanatomy of leadership doesn’t always have to be linked to hard core stigmas to be effective. The other ‘f’ word I’m talking about refers to having a little fun.
The Other ‘F’ Word
Sometimes lightening the mood works wonders. Having a little fun can spark some life into the morale. It takes the edge off. It helps people relax a bit. When we are relaxed, we’re more productive. When our staff is more productive, our numbers prove it.
I know not everyone subscribes to having fun at work. If you happen to be a leader (or work with leaders) who prefer to separate fun from work, consider these implications:
- When we catch our staff off guard and do something out of character (that is fun), it helps people realize we’re human beings, too. It invites the opportunity for our staff to get to see the ‘real’ person behind the title. When they realize we’re real people with real personalities, they are more likely to feel a sense of connection. That connection is what we need when times get tough because people who are connected, tend to display loyalty
- With studies leaning toward numbers indicating that even a slight retention rate of 5% can generate a 25% – 85% increase in profitability (results from Gallup, Incentive Federation, Incentive Research Foundation, Maritz, and World at Work) this gives us a really easy way to increase our numbers
- Guess what results in 38% above average productivity, and 27% higher profits? Employee engagement (Gallop results)
- When our employees know that having a little fun is okay every once in a while, our customers can sense it. Believe me – I’ve seen it in the results after collecting data. As a matter of fact, studies show a 50% increase in customer satisfaction and 50% higher sales, as the result of employee engagement (Gallop results). It’s probably one of the easiest ways to make our business attractive to customers
Even though it may seem counterintuitive, when we throw in a little ‘fun’, we can sustain rules, policies, and procedures just like we always have – but the likelihood of decreased error rates, absenteeism, and turnover, matched with an increased morale and loyalty … might make it worth giving it a shot.