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DISCUSSION ISSUES AND QUESTIONS

Issues

  1. When people can laugh at themselves and each other, they feel better about themselves and others and are more bonded.

  2. People seek others with whom they can reveal their true selves, including their absurd—humorous—side.

  3. Effective inner leaders use humor as part of their effort to inspire and direct followers toward some ideas, activities, and approaches and away from others.

  4. Inner leaders set the environment within which humor is used, define the parameters of its use, and more than any other member of the work community apply it in work-related interactions.

  5. Humor helps define the place in the work community of individual members and who they are both as individuals and as a community.

  6. If a work community is humorless and suppresses humor, the likelihood is that other essential characteristics that are required to do business are also suppressed, and the members’ humanness is restricted.

  7. Humor helps define the human being. Humor is a way people express their true, intimate core selves, including their vulnerable, foolish, irrational, ridiculous sides.

  8. The use of humor directly enhances followers’ motivation to change, has been associated with improving morale among workers, helps create a more practically functional work culture, and enhances work-community cohesiveness.

  9. Inner leader uses of humor inspire both member and work-community creativity and increase individual motivation.

  10. Humor points out discrepancies in logic and beliefs to stimulate innovative thinking. It allows people to stand back from a problem and to take a new and unique perspective to address it.

  11. Humor reaches that part of human beings that is not physical, a part that many call spirit or soul.

  12. Using humor helps overcome self-doubt and will help lead to success and prosperity. What has just been said for leaders also applies to those led.

  13. Humor identifies the “ins” from the “outs” in the work community, that is, it determines who is part of the core group and who is extraneous to it. Humor conveys membership.

  14. Humor is symbolic, it lets us assume something stands for something else in the situation.

  15. Humor is a face-saving tool.

  16. Humor moderates the relationship between the inner leader’s style and work-unit performance.

  17. Humor has value in helping make complex circumstances understandable and acceptable.

  18. Workers feel that a workplace including an element of humor is a benefit.

Questions

  1. Do I use humor as part of my leadership style? Why? Why not?

  2. How have your past uses of humor influenced the expectations of your work-community members so that they can work cooperatively?

  3. What kinds of humorous situations or stories have you found most effective in your work community? List some acceptable and unacceptable topics or foci of your humor.

  4. What works best for you: self-effacing humor or humor that is directed (positively) toward a member of your work community or that is directed to a member of a competing community? Why?


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