Grin and share it

Hu­mour vi­tal to work vibe


WHAT is the No.1 in­gre­di­ent for pos­i­tive or­gan­i­sa­tional cul­ture?

“Hu­mour,” says busi­ness cul­ture ex­pert Kyla Tustin of Holis­tic Ser­vices Group.

Stress is one of the big­gest is­sues in busi­nesses to­day — and when peo­ple are stressed, “we can all go into a part of the brain known as the jerk”, she laughs.

The best way to keep stress lev­els down and en­cour­age a pos­i­tive work­place cul­ture is to make it OK to laugh and tap into your in­nate sense of hu­mour.

“If work isn’t fun and a bit play­ful, peo­ple more eas­ily feel at­tacked when things go wrong, and from that point, you can’t get any­one to change how they be­have,” she says.

Ac­cord­ing to re­search, peo­ple’s brains are 31 per cent more pro- duc­tive when they are in a pos­i­tive state, com­pared with feel­ing neu­tral, neg­a­tive or stressed.

“Play­ful­ness helps us per­form bet­ter and it makes us feel bet­ter,” Ms Tustin says.

Kind­ness and com­pas­sion are the other big-ticket items that brighten ev­ery­one’s day and lift the col­lec­tive mood, but it is es­sen­tial to en­sure the pos­i­tiv­ity is au­then­tic.

Most peo­ple show just 10 per cent of their per­son­al­ity at work out of fear of judg­ment, re­search shows, and Ms Tustin says work­places are miss­ing out. “Imag­ine the cre­ativ­ity, imag­i­na­tion and con­nec­tion work­places lose out on when we only bring a small part of our­selves to work each day?”

Ms Tustin be­lieves all work­ers should have a list of their val­ues and strengths dis­played on their desks to aid com­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­la­tion­ships.

On­line tests such as the Gallup strength test can help peo­ple iden­tify their strengths.

“When we know each other’s strengths and val­ues, it is eas­ier to work to­gether,” she says.

Once you know your per­sonal val­ues and strengths, it be­comes eas­ier to find a work­place with a cul­ture that is a good fit.

Ms Tustin sug­gests ask­ing to speak with team mem­bers and other peo­ple within an or­gan­i­sa­tion when in­ter­view­ing for a new job.

“If you don’t find a work­place that aligns with your val­ues, you will quite quickly feel you want to leave and go some­where else.”

Dis­like for an im­me­di­ate man­ager ranks only slightly higher than dis­con­tent with an or­gan­i­sa­tion’s cul­ture as the main rea­son peo­ple leave a job.

“When ev­ery­one within an or­gan­i­sa­tion knows their strengths, feels sup­ported and can be them­selves at work, magic hap­pens,” Ms Tustin says.

But chang­ing cul­ture isn’t easy and can only start at the top.

Self-aware­ness and emo­tional in­tel­li­gence in a leader who is will­ing to re­ceive ev­ery piece of feed­back is cru­cial for a pos­i­tive work­place cul­ture.

The Depart­ment of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment, Jobs, Trans­port and Re­sources is presently as­sess­ing ten­ders for a con­trac­tor to eval­u­ate its cul­ture.

It’s no joke; hu­mour has been iden­ti­fied as an im­por­tant con­tribut­ing fac­tor to beat­ing stress in the of­fice and could make work­ers more pro­duc­tive.

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