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Laughter And Leadership

Leadership qualities entail the ability to influence others to achieve an objective and fulfill organizational targets. Being in the position of power and authority, a good leader should have the capacity to comprehend and use the strengths of his team to enhance potential and productivity. Positive reinforcement and better understanding of people is an added asset and will inspire followers to achieve high goals and peak performance.

The art of dealing with people in a constructive manner and encouraging positive traits, while underplaying the negative ones is the hallmark of a good leader. Maintaining an emotional balance and creating an ambience of empathy, communication and compassion makes a leader more accessible and likeable, thus enabling people to accept authority.

Research has shown that laughter and leadership have a strong connect as laughter is a powerful tool to reduce negative strains of stress, pressure and anxiety. It has the ability to generate positive thoughts, change mood states, increase creativity and promote clarity of vision and encourage a better perspective towards things – all of which are major attributes that make up a great leader.

Leadership without laughter would become monotonous and tedious. It’s no pleasure to follow leaders who are glum and gloomy. If they learn to look at the lighter side as well as laugh at themselves, it makes the atmosphere more enjoyable and conducive to success and accomplishments.

Laughter Yoga – promotes leadership qualities

The Guru of Giggling Dr. Madan Kataria, the Indian physician and founder of the laughter club movement worldwide developed a new exercise routine called Laughter Yoga based on laughter exercises and the ancient science of yogic breathing.

Laughter Yoga besides its enormous physiological benefits has a profound impact on the mind. It controls stress, improves human relationships, productivity, develops trust, improves teamwork, leadership and participation.

Laughter Yoga exercises are appropriate and beneficial for all and are not dependent on cognitive abilities or motor skills making it by far the best exercise routine that simulates laughter irrespective of mood states, sense of humor or any other limitations.

Connect not correct

One of the basic fundamentals of Laughter Yoga with effect to promote great leadership qualities is that it teaches to connect and not correct. It is easy when a leader reinforces by teaching rather than preaching. It leads to better team work and optimum performance.

Deterrents to good leadership – how laughter helps to remove them

Stress: The underlying stress factors can be a hindrance to leadership and hamper work efficiency. Laughter Yoga is an instant stress buster. It lifts the spirits and alleviates all symptoms of stress by decreasing stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and releasing endorphins, which are known as happy chemicals. This generates a positive feel and improves the behavior towards others, thereby creating a better leader.

Ego hassles: Many a times leaders tend to misuse power and subject the team members to egoistical decisions, thus creating a hostile environment that counters constructive work. Laughter Yoga has the ability to change people for the better. The ‘I’ / ‘I want’ gives way to the ‘we’ and ‘us’. Laughter has the power to change one’s perspective and comprehend the other person’s point of view. It generates compassion and empathy towards team members – all of which are the support factors of good leadership.

Lack of self- confidence: A leader lacking in self confidence would be unable to boost the confidence of others. Laughter Yoga increases self confidence as regular practice of laughing within a group encourages self reliance and reduces inhibitions.

Negative emotions/ anger and fear: Sometimes power is accompanied with feelings of negative emotions towards others. Small issues tend to take on a big turn if the leader harbors resentment and is fearful of failure. Laughter teaches one to overcome negative emotions. It promotes positive thinking and dispels fear and anxiety that can impede work. Laughter can reduce tensions to t he point that the leader can sit down and sort his differences and come to an agreement.

Restrained creativity: Dominating and controlled leadership can counter competence and restrict creativity, skills and talent. People clam up in the presence of an overbearing leader. But, a leader who can learn to laugh at himself and at issues is a pleasure to work with. Laughter Yoga enables just this. It makes it easier for a person to admit new ideas and creates and creates an ambience of sharing and caring that boosts creativity. It lends more openness to the relationship between the leaders and his men.

Lack of responsibility: Some leaders shun their responsibilities and in case of something going wrong, they are fast to lay the blame on others. This is extremely detrimental to the self esteem of the team workers and their spirit. Laughter is a great tool that teaches one to develop a sense of responsibility. Laughter Yoga has the ability to enhance motivation and inspiration that help the workforce to look up to a leader and cooperate. Laughter Yoga exercises and group dynamics encourages a person to take responsibility for one’s own actions and not be judgmental. This can lead the organization to great heights.

Poor communication: Lack of communication is perhaps the biggest deterrent to a harmonious leader and team relationship. It is important to keep the workers, the seniors and the key people well informed. Laughter Yoga is a great tool for communication. It boosts interpersonal relations and creates a positive bonding, wherein people learn to convey their feelings and express their emotions more freely. It helps the leader to establish a two way communication that leads to better participation and the willingness to work.

Lack of focus: No leader can function if there is lack of focus, inability to resolve issues and make quick decisions. It is difficult for the team to follow an indecisive and wavering leader. Regular practice of Laughter Yoga increases the attention span, improves focus and provides clarity of vision. It also helps to improve problem solving skills, decision making, planning and setting of goals that would enhance the well being of the team as well as positively affect the organization and fulfill targets.

Realizing the tremendous beneficial power of Laughter Yoga, corporates are increasingly relying on the efficacy of laughter sessions to boost the qualities of their leaders thereby increasing their efficiency, profitability and productivity. Not just in the workplace, these traits would benefit all in the field of education, sports and other coaching organizations which require constant motivation and management skills to better the performance, increase creativity and boost the morale.

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