So you’re prepping a presentation to give to several other managers in your company. You decide your slide show with a funny meme. That’s a great way to warm up your audience, right?
Turns out, only if you’re a man. We women actually get the opposite reaction .
A new study proves it: The use of humor in the workplace elevates men’s status but lowers women’s standing in the eyes of their co-workers.
Talk about a bad joke!
The reason why will do anything but make you laugh. Seems women are STILL perceived as less serious about work than their male counterparts (women are still thought to be more focused on home and family), so cracking a joke only reinforces that incorrect and antiquated stereotype and unconscious bias).
On the other hand, when a man cracks a joke it instantly makes him seen as more accessible.
But don’t schedule that appointment to have your funny bone removed just yet.
Women leaders have a different piece of scientific evidence that might make them consider keeping humor in the mix. According to a recent article in Inc. Leaders with humor can:
- build stronger cultures (cultures that incorporate humor are more resilient),
- unleash more creativity (it lowers stress and releases oxytocin), and even
- negotiate better deals (laughter can disarm people).
Of course, if you do decide to incorporate humor into your management style, you want to do so carefully. A few tips:
- Don’t let ‘em see it coming. So you’ve decided to incorporate a joke into your next presentation. A good move … as long as you don’t warn your audience Much of what’s funny about jokes and little stories depends on your listeners not knowing what to expect. (Plus, there’s been less hype in the event your joke falls flat.)
- Follow the winning formula. A recent study found leaders who make jokes strengthen the bond between staffers and themselves. But only if: a. the joke is positive and inclusive, and b. a good relationship already exists between the staffer and joke-teller.
So what has your experience been? Do you feel humor has helped or hurt you in your career? Tell us in the comments section.