Issue Number 24: Leadership: Humor as a Shared Experience

If, like me, you smiled when you saw this sculpture of Rock, Paper, Scissors, we may may share a similar sense of humor. Not everyone does.

Once, and only once, I went on a blind date. We decided to see a then-new movie called “Airplane” starring Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty, and featuring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Leslie Nielson, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack and a host of other people. The movie contained classic scenes like June Billingsley, Beaver Cleaver’s mother, talking “jive,” and classic lines like “Don’t call me Shirley,” that are still being referenced in today’s comedy shows.

It cost about $3 million to make and has earned over $83 million. Millions of people, like me, laughed all the way through the movie.

My date did not.

I am not sure if she lacked the humor chip or just didn’t like the movie or her companion, but we did not live happily ever after. She didn’t exactly leap desperately from my speeding car as we neared her home, but it was close.

Think about the friends you had years ago who are still in your life. One of the reasons those relationships have endured over the years is likely a shared sense of humor. A shared sense of humor is beyond conversation. You probably laugh at the same things, groan at the same puns, and maybe even finish each other’s ….

The judicious use of humor in the workplace can bring people together around a shared experience. It may not lead to lifelong friendships, but it can get you through the day.

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