Karyn Buxman

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Posts Tagged 'Lead with Laughter'

5 Reasons To Lead With Laughter

A sense of humor and the ability to laugh are powerful leadership tools. Below are 5 reasons why YOU should add humor and laughter to your Leadership Toolbox.

1. Leaders who laugh are healthier leaders.

Being in charge is stressful. The rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, and other stress-driven health complaints are much higher among leaders than among people who aren’t in such stressful roles. Laughter is an all-natural, drug-free way to alleviate stress. When you’re less stressed, you make better decisions: laughter can make you a better business strategist!

2. Leaders who laugh are better negotiators.

Humor puts the common bonds of experience and insight individuals have squarely in the spotlight. This strengthens the relationship. This is important when you’re negotiating. Most leaders prefer to have negotiations where both parties feel like they’re walking away a winner. Knowing what you have in common with the other party and what’s important to them is a critical component in making this happen. Laughter opens the door to developing that understanding.

3. Leaders who laugh have emotional resiliency.

To be an effective leader, you need both optimism and vision. Both of these qualities are under constant assault from the world we live in, which serves up a continual narrative of gloom and doom. Laughter creates emotional distance from overwhelming events, allowing leaders to focus on what they need to do to get the job done. This doesn’t mean ignoring very real problems—just holding onto perspective that makes moving forward possible. Being able to see the brighter side is a valuable leadership skill.

4. Laughter creates loyalty.

Attracting and retaining top talent is the most important part of many leaders’ responsibilities. The strategic use of humor plays a vital role in letting people know they’re welcome and valued—two important components in employee retention. Strong leaders understand that humor is a very individual phenomenon, manifested in different ways for different reasons, and they use that knowledge to strengthen relationships with their team members. Strong, long-lasting teams deliver more innovation and better results!

5. Leaders who laugh are better communicators.

Humor is a social lubricant. We use laughter to ease our communications with colleagues, customers, and pretty much everyone else around us. Being able to hear and understand what others are trying to convey while being simultaneously being able to make your own meaning clear is a sign of a great leader. Knowing when to laugh—and what it means when other people are laughing—can make you a more effective leader.


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Lead With Laughter: An Interview with Tim Belber of Insurance Thought Leadership

TimBelberTim Belber is the founder of the Alchemia Group, which provides wealth transition planning and business growth strategies to family business owners. He is also a leading thought leader in the insurance and financial planning industries.  We’re thrilled to have his insights on Leading with Laughter to share with you:

Remember We’re All In This Together

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day aspects of advising clients that you can lose sight of the bigger picture. That’s when you’ll find the satisfaction with the work you’re doing going down. When the focus is on finding the meaning, everything changes.

Presenting a client with an alternative possibility in the relationship they have with an advisor – giving them an experience where the focus is on providing them with life-building, empowering financial tools rather than fear-driven, product-pushing – brings that satisfaction back. It’s a different approach that delivers different results, and I’d like to see the entire industry embrace it.

Humor Reminds Us We’re All Connected

Successful family businesses have role clarity. They’re able to separate their professional lives from their family relationships and history. Humor helps me explain this to the families we advise.

When I explain how it might be hard for the boss who is also a parent to forget that the 50 year old employee they’re talking to is also the same kid who used to bug them for chewing gum, people lighten up. They relax and start talking more. The session becomes more interactive and productive.

Confidence, Growth & the Ability to Laugh at Ourselves

Humor can help humanize you. You don’t want people to be intimidated by your role as a leader or expert. You can make more meaningful connections without that barrier between you.

There’s  a story I tell about my when I first started out in business, I was only 22 years old. I was very concerned that people wouldn’t take me seriously. In an effort to compensate for this, I carried a hard briefcase and I made sure that I always had a tax journal with me.

Then one day I stopped, laughed, and asked myself, “Why am I even doing this?”  Now I just carry a portfolio when I meet with clients – and I leave the tax journals in the office!  People laugh because they’ve had their own similar experience, in one way or another. Communication becomes much easier

Lead With Laughter

karen_handsAs a thought leader, Tim has some great insights both for the entire industry and for individual advisors. His stories reinforce how humor makes it easier to start meaningful conversations. Laughter has the power to overcome social barriers, by reminding us of universal experiences that put us all on the same level.

Another great lesson from Tim is that humor can help people understand complex concepts like ‘role clarity’ very, very quickly. Think about the parts of your presentations and professional communications that your clients have trouble understanding. Is there a way you can use humor to make your meaning clearer?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them below, or on the Karyn Buxman speaks Facebook page!

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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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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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