Karyn Buxman

Catching Up With Karyn

Archive for May, 2014

Lead With Laughter: When Things Don’t Go Exactly As Planned

40a996e93ad479231a1bff2acb433cc1One of the signs that someone is a great leader is that their team isn’t afraid to approach them when they need help or support. Murphy’s Law touches every industry. There’s no workplace that’s free of difficulties. The way a leader responds to these difficulties has a direct and profound impact on the morale and collective resilience of the organization.

Some of the most fascinating neurological research out there has to do with the way our bodies react in anticipation to an event. The events we’re anticipating can be positive – knowing you’re going to meet your funniest friend for a drink after work – or negative – telling your boss that a critical report is way behind schedule.

When we’re looking forward to something good, we actually begin to experience some of the pleasure of the event before it even happens. Our blood pressure goes down, our circulation goes up, we feel more energized and emotionally resilient.

When we are looking forward to something bad, we experience some of the negative impact of the event even before it occurs. This can manifest in many ways, including elevated blood pressure, gastro-intestinal distress, and headaches. The more we dread the event, the worse these physical symptoms become.

As leaders, it’s important that we really understand what it’s like for our team to approach us with problems. Are we creating a situation where the very thought of coming to us makes our team members physically unwell? While we can’t control our staffs’ anxiety levels, we can control how we respond to negative news.  There’s an ART to this:

A: Acknowledge the problem as it is presented to you. Restate what you’ve been told – the report is going to be late – as well as the consequences of this problem – the client is going to be very upset.

R: React to the bad news, not the bearer of it. Any set back will provoke an emotional response, but as a leader, your role is to present that response in a way that makes your team stronger. Extreme anger and upset need to be processed in a private setting. When you are composed enough to address your team, keep your commentary focused on the problem.

Avoid personal attacks, especially of the person who appraised you of the situation. If you make it emotionally dangerous to bring you bad news, no one is going to be willing to bring you bad news. They will delay and delay the unpleasant experience until addressing it becomes unavoidable. Generally, at this point, the problem has grown much larger than it needs to be.

T: Turn toward a solution. Once you know about a problem, the team’s energy needs to be focused on fixing it. Conversations about blame and accountability can and should happen later, not in the heat of the moment.  Demonstrating your commitment to progress helps keep the team focused on moving forward.

Don’t forget that humor will help diffuse the stress in the situation. Saying, “Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh” is the best sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Lead with Laughter – you’ll get amazing results!

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Humor & Home Sales: What’s the Connection?

real estateSelling real estate requires a unique combination of skills. Not only must realtors know everything there is to know about the homes they’re selling and the neighborhood those homes reside in, they must understand the tangled process of financing a home purchase.

On top of that, they need tremendous people skills, in order to attract buyers, understand what their needs are, identify the best properties for them, and provide support and encouragement through the home buying process.

Humor is one of the most essential – yet seldom discussed – tools the real estate agent has at his or her disposal. The realtor who knows how to use laughter to begin relationships sells more homes.

I saw a great example of this on Twitter this morning (Thanks, @sjsincanada!) There are plenty of people who’d shy away from buying property near a cemetery – blame it on too many late night horror shows or cultural traditions that are uncomfortable with the idea of being too close to the departed – but with a humorous twist, this agent turned a potential negative into a positive.

Additionally, the laugh may be enough to make people driving by give the home a second look – and if they like what they see, it’s a lot easier to pick up the phone and make a call. Using humor removes barriers to communication. People who use humor as part of their presentation are less intimidating, and therefore more approachable, than someone who has a stern, all-business-all-the-time affect.

You don’t want potential home buyers to be afraid to contact you. Look for opportunities to use humor as a door-opener; a way to ease people into doing business with you. If you can make someone laugh, you can help them find the right home. It’s as amazing -and amusing! – as that.


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Lead With Laughter: Using Humor To Bring The Best Out of Your Team

Bill GatesOne of the biggest challenges leaders face is inspiring their team to turn in a top-notch performance all of the time. Motivating people to be creative problem solvers who keep a steady focus on delivering superior customer service is hard work.

If you’re really lucky, you’ll have some people who are intrinsically motivated to continually come up with original, useful ideas. If you’re not so lucky, your role is to create a workplace culture that serves as an external motivation conducive to top performance.

That’s where laughter comes in. The use of humor by leadership accomplishes several things in the work place:

Lowers Barriers Between Team Members:
This makes free and easy communication – essential for creative collaboration, plan development and implementation.

Acts As a Form of Permission:

Sometimes it’s the funny, offbeat, or ridiculous idea that can be the real game changer for your business. In an environment where laughter is an acceptable response, it’s easier to offer up ideas that are ‘out there’.  Being laughed at isn’t viewed as a catastrophic career-ender; it’s just a normal part of the creative process.  Remove the fear of failure from the equation, and you’ll get better results from your team.

Change Perspective

If you’d asked your team who is the laziest member, how many people would eagerly volunteer to claim that role? Yet as we can see from the Bill Gates quote, “I always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job because he will find an easy way to do it,” a change in perspective can help us recognize the strengths in our team members we might otherwise never notice. We have to know what our team’s strengths are before we can use them effectively!


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Happy Nurses Week!

happy-nurses-week-someecards-3Happy Nurses Week!

This week of celebration and recognition is for everyone who’s ever been puked on, cursed out and proposed to – all by the same patient!

This week of celebration and recognition is for everyone who’s ever had to reassure a heavily-tattooed, multiply pierced individual that they really wouldn’t die from the pain of getting a tetanus shot!

This week of celebration and recognition is for everyone who knows that the proper answer to ‘When will the doctor be here?’ is not “Your guess is as good as mine!”

This week of celebration and recognition is for everyone who responds to the next shift being 20 minutes late by giving report in Pig Latin!

This week of celebration and recognition is for everyone who has physically restrained a colleague from saying the Q word!

What we do as nurses is amazing and amusing. This week, make a point of laughing – with your colleagues or by yourself – as often as you can. You’ll be happier, you’ll be healthier, and you’ll be a better nurse. What a great way to celebrate Nurses Week!


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