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Blog : Great leaders know how to have fun


Great leaders know how to have fun

Last week, as the result of losing a bet, Richard Branson dressed up as a Virgin Atlantic air hostess and carried out full in-flight service. Last month Pippa Middleton challenged Boris Johnson to a game of Ping Pong which was used as an opportunity to promote the legacy of the Olympic Games and sport in London.
Both of these stories are great examples of leaders being self-deprecating; having the ability to laugh at themselves. Whatever your view of any of these public figures, it cannot be denied that having fun whilst being in a position of power presents a powerful and memorable message. This is something we need to see more of within organisations particularly when it comes to engaging Generation Y, although there’s certainly no age limit on appreciating humour in the workplace.
At the Purple Palace we understand the positive impact that funcan have on business; it’s one of our values. Firstly because we  agree that the workplace should not be a sterile environment where people go only to do their ‘job’ but also because countless studies highlight the strong links between fun, productivity and profitability. For example, a study by Teresa M. Amabile for Harvard Business School found that ‘emotions, motivations, and perceptions about workdirectly affect a team member’s daily experience and effect their performance’ . There is great video on TED by psychologist, Shawn Anchor, which also supports this.
So how do leaders ensure the team are having fun whilst working productively? Fun isn’t a concept which can be dictated, it has to come from the people in the business; the best way to find out? Ask. Use internal surveys such as our free employee opinion survey to find out what peoplereally think.  However, as Branson and Johnson prove, it’s down to leaders to show people it’s OK to have fun and in what form that takes in the culture you have. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Have lunch together
  • Tell stories
  • Help people with time management and keeping it simple- being organised gives people freedom as it stops them from feeling stressed
  • Use humour where appropriate
  • Share books and then discuss them
  • Learn a language- at Purple Cubed, Sol, our Head of Technology, is teaching us all Spanish
  • Learn to dance together – we learnt a routine and then performed  it as a surprise at a colleague’s wedding
  • Set up sweepstakes and provide a TV for major sporting events
  • Have fun ice breakers in company meetings
  • Get everyone to email round their top five achievements in company meetings including a bonus ‘fun’ achievement
  • Have a team trip or other social events
  • Celebrate every team member’s birthday- even if just providing a cake and making everyone stop work for fifteen minutes
  • Se up a ‘ministry for fun’ which enables your people to decide what they want to do and when, a small budget can go a long way if you have creative people
As Bob Basso says ‘If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right’!
How do your leaders make work fun?

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