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Have fun with your direct reports.

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Who made the rule that leaders and directs could not have fun together? Whoever it was, was wrong and they missed a great opportunity to become an even better leader.  My experience as a leader has helped me to see how valuable it is to have fun with your directs.  Obviously there are boundaries that cannot be crossed but those are clearer than you might think.

My experience as a leader has helped me to see how valuable it is to have fun with your directs

First, get to know your directs and what they like.  It is difficult to have fun with someone if you do not know what they like.  I make it a priority as a leader to learn something that is unique about each one of my directs.  For example, I have one direct who is coaching soccer for school aged children.  This small detail helps to build credibility for our relationship and makes it easy for us to have a relationship and be able to have fun.

Second, laugh out loud and laugh often.  I am convinced that laughter can break barriers.  There is a power in a good loud laugh.  Furthermore, a laugh is contagious and it brings people together.  As a leader, I make it a top priority to laugh at and laugh with my directs.  When a direct sees you laughing out load it shows them that you are a real person and that you are more than just a leader in a suit.  In addition to laughing out loud, make sure that it is often.  The more often the better.  Your directs will appreciate you for it and it will help you build up your team.

Finally, whistle while you work.  Literally.  If you sing, sing.  If you hum, hum.  Just make sure that you’re enjoying music with your directs while you work.  Just like laughter, music has the power to connect you to your directs in a special way.  The best piece about this part is that when followed in reverse it could help you achieve your other goals.  For example, I am a terrible singer, but I enjoy dropping a lyric or two at work and it brings out a laugh from my directs, which then causes me to laugh.  It is also a great conversation piece and it opens up dialogue between you and your direct.  Do not be afraid to ask them what kind of music they like, and when they do not expect it, surprise them with a lyric from their favorite song.

If you sing, sing. If you hum, hum.

In closing, a few boundaries that are obvious.  Remain professional.  Guard your relationship and do not allow the line of leader-direct to get blurred.  Be genuine.  Most importantly, have fun!

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Can a strong leader also have fun?

Have you ever had a leader that made work fun? What about a leader that made work not fun?

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It’s easy to have fun when you assume positive intent.  Learn about positive intent by checking out the article Assume Positive Intent.

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Written by theheadcoachmanager

March 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm