Effective Leadership: Have Fun

I can’t think of a better leadership quality to end with than have fun. It’s an often overlooked aspect of leading others because there is always so much to do. Our performance driven culture has somehow convinced us that the bottom line will suffer if we aren’t burning the candle at all ends. But teams that enjoy working together will accomplish much more than those that work work work all of the time.

I remember my first job out of college. I was a junior planner on an oil refinery job in Houston. The project had an aggressive schedule and the customer was always putting pressure on us to keep costs down. But that didn’t keep the management team from recognizing birthdays every month or keeping little toys sitting around the conference room tables to help jog creativity and foster collaboration. It’s amazing how much juggling a slinky from one hand to the next can get your mind flowing! There was also the project team I worked for in South Carolina that looked for any excuse to have a potluck luncheon. Mardi Gras. Christmas. Fourth of July. Retirement celebrations. It really didn’t matter. The camaraderie that we had as a team was undeniable.

I challenge you to think about how you can incorporate fun into your leadership style. Fun can’t be forced, but it can be intentional. And over time, it will become more and more spontaneous and frequent. The flip side of this is that a leader runs the risk of the “fun” running away with the show. It’s like chasing squirrels all the time. This will drastically decrease productivity. So be flexible but stay focused. With this combination, you will see incredible results!

When you think of effective leadership from now on, it’s my hope that you will begin to incorporate these various qualities into your style. Make them fertile soil from which your unique personality and talents can grow and blossom. Know your stuff. Care about those you lead. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Empower others to get the job done. Give respect. Lead with clarity and boldness. And don’t forget to have fun. These aren’t the “ten commandments of leadership”, but they are time tested by some truly great leaders.

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