Leaders today face many challenges in striving to meet company goals and keep employees happy.

Encouraging teamwork and fostering an empowered work environment are key factors in creating a high performance workplace. Another, often under-utilized tool to creating high performance workplaces is humor.

There are several benefits to keeping things light at the office:

Improve Morale

Injecting a little fun into the workday helps improve morale.

One of my clients who leads a call centre, occasionally sets up game days where everyone dresses up in a theme and the teams compete against each other to get the most sales.

The laughter and joy in their voices bubble over into the phones and their customers pick up on the high morale rolling through the team.

Achieve Goals and Encourage Teamwork

Because humor in the workplace has the potential to enhance productivity, it often helps organizations complete goals and meet deadlines. Humor is especially helpful when leaders use it to get a team project through the necessary stages toward completion.

Why is humor so important during a project?

Most projects come across roadblocks and problems along the way that can derail progress and cause delays. Leaders who use humor to diffuse a stressful situation or face problems with a positive outlook are more likely to move past issues that crop up quickly and efficiently.

The effective use of humor also allows team members to use creative problem solving to resolve dilemmas because they feel safe to "think outside the box."

The appropriate use of humor develops a sense of trust between team leaders and members that promotes originality and imagination. However, it's important to realize that the use of humor should not detract from the project at hand. Too much humor can have a negative effect on employees if it is overused, and harm the project rather than help it.

Temper humor with professionalism and stay away from sarcasm and ridicule, which have nothing to do with light hearted, work-appropriate humor.

Relieve Stress

Humor is a low-cost way to lessen workplace stress and boost productivity at the same time. Humor tends to relax people and create an environment more conducive to getting things done.

Humor is also effective at reducing conflict between individuals and averting potential problems before they arise or become too big.

Scientists have found that laughter releases specific chemicals in the body that increase energy and cultivate a positive attitude. When employees are happy and stress-free, the organization's goals are easier to achieve.

Although humor doesn't necessarily come naturally to everyone, it is possible to improve your leadership style by allowing humor to become a part of your work personality and how you deal with employees.

Allow moments requiring humor to spring up naturally - don't force humor where it doesn't belong, as people will sense the insincerity. Simply be more open to possibilities that may benefit from a sprinkling of humor, and don't shy away from its application when a situation presents itself.

Give humor a try and help your team members to incorporate a sense of joy into their daily routine.

Author's Bio: 

Shelley Holmes is the creator of leadership-and-motivation-training.com a website designed for the high performance leader who wants to fast-track their career to enduring success by bringing out the best in themselves and others.

Go to www.leadership-and-motivation-training.com to pick up your free audio on how to manage emotions in the workplace.