shutterstock_194321144You will not succeed without a sense of humor. Many CEOs have told me they see humor as a test to whether they want to work with and be around a person. Good leaders aggressively seek out an amusing angle in dealing with others, whether through light humor in a serious situation or the careful use of irony.

A person with humor mainly takes the doubt level down a notch and the trust level up.

Bringing appropriate fun to serious and not-so-serious situations also makes you a formidable force. In a recent study people under twenty-five and women of all ages were determined to be the least humorous in our society. Yes, I know there is a desire for both of those groups to be taken seriously; the irony is if you take yourself less seriously, people take you more seriously.

The most important reason for being good-natured is that it allows you a gentle way to speak difficult truths. If you want to get away with saying what needs to be said, use fitting humor.

One recruiter told me, “A sense of humor is not a luxury –it’s a vital organ for survival

Seeing the funny side doesn’t mean you have to tell and forward jokes or add a smiley face to your e-mails. Nor is humor to grandstand and draw attention to yourself. Humor is being human and personal. It:

-shows insight into human nature

-makes life and work more pleasant for you and others

-creates a relaxed, friendly environment; encourages others to do the same

-is a great equalizer across barriers of title, position, and role

-increases your likeability and improves connections

-saves time in developing affinity

-mitigates frustration

-diffuses emotion

-improves morale

-lowers blood pressure, yours and others you work with

As one executive put it, “Laughter gives you an instant vacation.”