laughter and leadership

When I ask people what it takes to be a great leader, I get a wide range of answers including things like vision, wisdom, talent, and the ability to persuade others. Rarely do I hear “a sense of humor.”

Let’s not underestimate the power of laughter. Laughter opens our minds and helps us tap into our creativity. Laughter helps us cope with the difficult challenges we face in life. Laughter helps us to be more tolerant and accepting of one another. Frankly, I like hanging out with people who make me laugh. Even better, I like hanging out with people who will laugh at my stupid jokes and stories. How about you?

In that long list of admirable leadership traits, I place humor right at the top. I believe great leaders see humor in life and enjoy themselves. I believe they make sure the people around them are having fun while they change the world together. And I believe they can poke fun at themselves.

Along those lines, I want to share a humorous story with you at my expense, for no other reason than to give you a chuckle today…

I have been working on an informative but entertaining keynote speech about technology, a perfect topic for me as I spent 18+ years working in the high-tech industry. I told my husband, Jim, that if he ran across any good technology articles to send them my way. At the same time I was working on this speech, I was also trying to figure out the new Mac my husband bought and set up for me. I spent several days learning the best way to import video from my digital camera, manipulate the video, and create a professional-looking DVD. I cursed a few times in the process.

Up against a deadline, but now prepared with a working knowledge of the Mac, I sat down to create some DVDs for a client. I imported the video from my camera successfully, but when I tried to play the video on the Mac I could not get sound. I checked the volume and made sure everything was connected properly, but still no sound. I was already a little frustrated with it from my learning session, and I was impatient because of my deadline, so I vented through a chat message to my husband at work.

I typed, “I need your help. This Mac is driving me crazy! I can see my video, but cannot hear it. Volume is up, mute is off, and everything is plugged in. What am I doing wrong? Why is this so hard???”

He typed back, “Did you turn the speakers on?”

I just groaned and felt ridiculous bothering him. He decided I needed further taunting, though, so he continued typing:

“It’s the little round button on the receiver.”

“There is a little light that will come on when you push the button.”

“Sound will then come out of the speakers.”

I typed back, “Ha-ha, ok. I got it. Thanks.”

I turned on the speakers and created my DVDs. An hour or so later, I returned to my laptop to continue working on my technology article. A few minutes later I received an email from my husband telling me he found a great article for my technology speech and attached it to the email. Excitedly, I opened the email attachment and found a copy of the transcript from our chat session.

Have a great day, everyone. See if you can make someone laugh today.