Can you joke around on the job? How do people know what is serious and what isn’t? Do you want to be taken seriously?
The subject of being taken seriously might quickly be considered to be connected to respect. It probably is, but perhaps it is also connected to each individual in different ways.
For example, for the person that is extremely committed and extremely focused, it might be refreshing to catch a break. Lightening up the mood a bit and releasing some tension or stress might be a good thing.
Of course, you also have the extreme opposite. You have those who aren’t really that serious at all. Any behavior to lighten things up opens the door for making a joke out of everything.
Like most things in life, the key is balance.
Be Taken Seriously
As a workplace leader here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Read each situation. A little fun and a little laughter can certainly ease tension. It can also signal, “Hey, this isn’t that serious.” Each situation likely has unique characteristics, read them carefully.
- Use humor sparingly. Humor can be tough. What is funny to some might be disrespectful to another. You must be very careful of sensitive areas. In the workplace a joke about a competitor’s product might be fun. A joke about gender, looks, or race—never!
- Don’t become an entertainer. You’ll never be taken seriously if you’re always trying to make things funny. Work is serious. You’ll have to find the balance. Sometimes you must trade popularity for respect.
Some might consider that any humor is just too risky. Most successful leaders are able to read the situation, show some personality, and execute a successful balance.
A well-managed balance can also build more trusted relationships. Too stiff or too tight might be perceived as fictitious and untrusted.
Do you want to be taken seriously?
You might have to establish respect first.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.