IT Managers Know That Humor At Work Is Not Always Funny

Humor needs to be used very carefully at work
Humor needs to be used very carefully at work
Image Credit: Be.Futureproof

How funny are you? Who says so? We all love a good joke, but when we are at work the issue of humor can get tricky very quickly. The things that make us laugh may be inappropriate to being discussed in the workplace. We need to be very careful what jokes we choose to tell to the members of our team lest we end up offending anyone inadvertently (or on purpose). Even with all of the risks that come along with humor in the workplace, it is still a powerful tool. What’s the best way for us to use maximize out IT manager skills and use humor on the job?

The Challenge Of Using Humor While At Work

The good news about employing some humor while you are at work is that it can make you look good to other people. IT managers who have the ability to make other people laugh will go up in other people’s opinion of them. Others will start to see you as being more self-confident, competent, and perhaps even just a bit higher in status. Getting people to laugh is clearly a powerful thing to accomplish for an IT manager. However, at the same time we need to keep in mind that humor is a two-edged blade and with no IT manager training if we tell just one inappropriate joke at work, then our reputation can suffer a blow that it may not be able to recover from.

The reason that humor can have such an effect on how others view us is because people see the use of humor as a sign of intelligence. Your ability to successfully tell a joke while at work shows to other people that you are sensitive to people’s tastes and moods.

As the leader of a team, you can use humor to modify how your team views you. Leaders who are known for telling jokes can come across to their team as being both more competent and confident. Humor comes with an additional benefit. If you use humor when you are communicating with your team, then that humor will appear to bring you down to their level. The result is that you will appear to be both more vulnerable and human to them.

How To Handle Humor Correctly

One of big questions that you need to find an answer to is how does your team currently view you? The use of humor when you are communicating with your team can have the effect of transforming how your team views you. If you are not the type of manager who tells jokes, don’t worry about it. It turns out that if you tell an appropriate joke and it falls flat, your reputation will still go up for simply trying to tell the joke. However, if you tell an inappropriate joke you are putting your reputation at risk.

The challenge that IT managers face when they attempt to use humor at work has to do with if it is appropriate. You are going to have to do some thinking before you try to make people laugh. What you are going to want to do is to evaluate the current setting that you find yourself in and determine if the joke that you want to tell really fits here. Is your joke going to fit with or clash with the gathered people’s tastes? Why are these people gathered together – is this really the time for you to be telling a joke?

Humor is a powerful tool when used correctly. There are a number of times that as IT managers we may find ourselves in a somber conversation with an individual or a group of people. A careful evaluation of the situation will need to be done, but this might be the time to introduce some humor. Be very careful before you do and in situations like this, always try to error on the side of caution.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the most powerful tools that IT managers have for communicating with their teams and performing IT team building is humor. However, humor can be very dangerous – what makes me laugh may not make you laugh. There are many risks that come along with trying to use humor in the workplace. However, IT managers who can use humor correctly can do a good job of using it to bond with their teams.

Humor is a powerful force. People who use humor are seen by other people as being more self-confident and competent. However, if you use inappropriate humor you are putting your hard won reputation at risk. Humor is a way to let your team know that you are intelligent. Using humor with your team will make you appear to be more “real” and will bring you down to their level. Before using humor on a group of people, you need to first determine if this is the time and the place for you to be sharing this joke with this group of people.

We all want to be liked in the workplace. I think that we see humor as a way for us to “fit in” with the members of our team. However, we need to understand that humor is a very personal thing and just because something is funny to us, does not mean that it is funny to anyone else. Yes you can use humor in the workplace, but you are going to have to be very, very careful when you do.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Can you think of a time that it would be inappropriate for you to use humor at work?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Congratulations, you’ve got a job. Now, let’s talk about what happens next. There are a lot of different ways that this can play out. Perhaps you come into work one day and decide that this job now bores you and that you’d like to get a new one. Or perhaps your boss calls you into his / her office and lets you know that the company has come up with a way to save money that no longer involves you. No matter what causes it, change is going to come your way. You’re not going to be ready for it if you haven’t taken the time to use your IT manager skills to create a career blueprint.