Humor plays a huge role in team dynamics. Make sure you understand who you're dealing with.
As I have run my different companies, I have learned that using personality indicator tools like DISC and Myers Briggs are important to understanding why members of my team react and interact the way they do. Knowing what drives an employee can help predict their ability to perform a role, and is key to the overall success of a team's ability to effectively work together.
But I had never considered how individual humor style impacted the way my teams interacted and perceived each other until June Cline shared she calls her ROI of LOL philosophy with my Toastmaster's club about a month ago. June's insights opened my eyes to the different comedic styles and why we don't always "get" each other--in and out of the office.
The four different comedic styles are:
Crazy like Jim Carey
Do you like to be the center of attention? Are you okay with wearing a lampshade or running around the room impersonating a bird? If so, your comedic style is crazy: You want to make others laugh and will go to extremes to see someone smile.
Caring like Bill Cosby
If you are self-deprecating and make others laugh by sharing stories about something that has happened to you, your style is caring like Bill Cosby. You want your humor to be safe and inclusive. You are okay with being authentic and letting others know that you are just another flawed human. Your humor often has a purpose, to gently get across a point or share a life lesson.
Caustic like Andrew Dice Clay
If you like to tell jokes that are a little off-color or crass ,and you have no problem making others the subject of those jokes, your style is caustic. Some of your favorite shows include TMZ and you probably tune in every time Lisa Lampanelli roasts a celebrity or Joan Rivers comments on the latest celebrity misfire. You often think that others are just too sensitive and that they don't get you are "just joking."
Cerebral like Johnny Carson
If you tell a joke and others just don't "get it," you may be cerebral like the late Johnny Carson, who would make fun of himself when a punch line sailed over his audience's head. You rarely laugh out loud, so others think you are humorless. Quite the contrary, you find humor in everyday events and experiences. The problem is that your humor often sounds funnier in your head than it does when you say it out loud.
Just like personality types, not all humor styles are complementary. A caring humor style will wilt when dished out to someone that prefers caustic humor; the cerebral person often thinks the crazy style is just too outlandish. June's workshops with companies often finds that it is a misunderstanding in humor style that leads to manager-team member conflict.
Taking time to learn what makes others you work with LOL can improve your team's effectiveness and can often explain the source of human resource concerns and complaints. No joke.
ERIC V. HOLTZCLAW is a serial entrepreneur who has founded multiple startup companies, including one of the first profitable Internet enterprises. His last company appeared on the Inc. 5000 list three years in a row. Eric advises clients on the “whys” of business – why customers buy, why teams work and the all-important “entrepreneurial why”. He is the author of Laddering and his weekly radio show, The 'Better You' Project, shines a spotlight on entrepreneurs' individual business journeys and successes. Learn more about Eric at www.ladderingworks.com or e-mail email@example.com. @eholtzclaw