Leading with Fun – 10 Ideas for Injecting Fun into Your Workplace

Most people want to enjoy their work, and a big part of that is having fun. If you’re a leader, part of your job is to help make that happen.

Here are 10 ideas for injecting fun into your workplace:

  1. Share from your personal life. Tell people what you wore to the neighborhood Halloween party. Share a movie you watched recently or what book you’re reading. This doesn’t have to be deep; you don’t need to divulge what you and your spouse discussed in your recent marriage counseling session.
  2. Ask colleagues questions about their personal lives. Questions like the following break the ice without being intrusive … How was your weekend? Do you have any plans this evening? Do you have a restaurant recommendation for me and my friend who’s in town?
  3. Use music or video. For example, when I was leading a diversity and inclusion initiative for Accenture years ago, I sent a voicemail to our team before a women’s event that included a section of Chaka Kahn’s “I’m Every Woman.”
  4. Use competition. Two organizations recently formed teams to participate in fitness programs. People had fun, built relationships and got fit. NCAA basketball tournament pools in the U.S. are other great examples.
  5. Pull pranks. For inspiration, watch reruns of the Office. Note: follow character Jim Halpert’s lead (stapler in jello, Christmas wrapped office furniture, etc.) versus character Michael Scott’s over-the-line pranks, which include fake firings.
  6. Edit and forward a news clip. I saw a WSJ newsfeed that reported the success of one of my teammate’s clients. So I edited the blurb to credit my teammate specifically for the client’s success and sent it to the team.
  7. Get others involved in planning for fun. I have known several direct reports and team members who are much more creative and fun than I am. Tapping them to provide ideas and leadership in injecting fun and creativity is a win for me, them and the team.
  8. Build time for fun into the team’s routine. One leader built five minutes into the beginning of her weekly team meetings for ‘carbs and questions.’ Each week a different person was responsible for bringing a snack and a question for the group, e.g., popcorn and “what’s your favorite movie ever?”
  9. Do a group volunteer service project. The opportunity to bond while working together for a worthy cause creates all kinds of value. Examples: packing meals for a food repository, cleaning up a local park or highway, or offering interviewing skills and resume-writing tips at the YMCA.
  10. Give personalized recognition awards. A former CEO of Pizza Hut used to award a “Cheese head” to select employees (he was from Wisconsin). Another leader gave a baseball with a congratulatory note to team members when they closed a deal.

If you are “fun-challenged,” it’s time to overcome this disability – for your team’s and your organization’s sake.

Image Credit

Joe Baker is a Partner with PeopleResults. As a leadership consultant and executive coach, he helps senior leaders better understand and manage their impact. You can reach him at jbaker@www.people-results.com or on Twitter @JoeBakerJr