Using humor as a weapon to become approachable

Sense of humor is one of the tools we need as leaders. It helps us to become approachable and a leader easy to work with. As leaders, we need our people to give us tough and constructive criticisms. We need them to take chances and willing to fail. We need them to feel safe to suggest ideas that may seem silly. Sometimes, the solutions that we need desperately may come from those ideas people discount as silly.

If we’re unapproachable, it becomes very hard for other people to work with us. If we’re too formal and too rigid all the time, it makes getting along with others a little tougher. It’s also unlikely to get serious feedbacks from others. Our people won’t be willing to take risk. They may not venture to speak their mind.

So far, some leaders resisted this recommendation. They came up with so many reasons why they cannot and/or won’t use humor in the workplace. Some of the justifications make sense. Nonetheless, one of the most frequent reasons that haven’t convinced me yet is: “We all aren’t gifted comedians”.

Yes, we all can’t make jokes every other minute like Trevor Noah and David Letterman et al. Yes, we all aren’t comedians. I myself struggle in this area. But, I learned to make jokes on my stumbling and myself.

By the way, you don’t need to make jokes on a minute-by-minute basis to become approachable and playful. There’re many opportunities around you, here and there, which you could tap into and become playful once in awhile.

Warning! If you aren’t a gifted comedian don’t make jokes, especially in the expense of others. The safest approach is, I found out that, making jokes on yourself and your stumbling, and so on.

Try it! You may find it helpful. However, note that if using humor and becoming playful isn’t appropriate and right fit to your organizational culture and the situation you find yourself, be creative to come up with other methods, using humor is just one of the approaches you may consider. Good luck!


Success Pathways, LLC ( provides interactive and dynamic soft skill and leadership workshops for diverse clients using latest adult learning methods.

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