A Leader’s Fun; The 4 Keys to Creating & Maintaining Fun at Work!
Fun… even the hint of the word creates tingles of anticipation and excitement! However, as time passes and things change so can our definition of fun; leaving you feeling lost, empty, and stuck on auto-pilot. My definition of “Fun” has changed from my teenage years to my 20’s, from my 20’s to my 30’s, from my 30’s to 40’s, and I’m sure it will continue to evolve. A few of the most perplexing times of my life have been when I no longer knew my definition of “Fun”, professionally or personally. You may be so busy being busy with your head down and blinders on chasing that singular definition of “Success” that when you look up you’re unaware of what “Fun” is at work, professionally, and personally. So, what to do to enhance fun, your leadership, team morale, and the work/life harmony of you and your people?
I share a Leadership Question through my App (YEN PUSH) and social media once per week; recently I posted… What’s your current definition of “Fun” at work? In your personal life? Do you know your people’s answer? Your significant other’s answer? Your kid’s? What a thought-provoking question… and whatever your answer and theirs… what a powerful answer!
As a leader, being curious enough to ask these questions and know the answers will significantly impact your leadership and their work/life harmony; allowing you to brainstorm ideas for ongoing activity, impact, and traditions!
Activity – Can be defined as the brainstormed ideas from you, the leadership team, and employees that occur spontaneously or are repeated throughout the year. It may be that Pizza Day your team is so fond of, impromptu staff outings, or staff meetings off-site… I once had a boss walk into the office and spontaneously say, “Let’s have our morning meeting at the café down the street; my treat… ROAD TRIP!”. You would have thought she was handing out $1000 bills and we all just won the Super Bowl!!!
Impact – These are activities purposefully meant to be of impact and value in the lives of team members either professionally, personally, or both! Perhaps you decide to bring in a Motivational Speaker, provide various trainings, spontaneous call-outs of praise to acknowledge those on your team who’ve achieved professional goals, earned an incentive, or experienced a great personal achievement!
Traditions – Sometimes, a brainstormed Impact Activity becomes SOOOO much more! Perhaps it was brainstormed that way… maybe not! The shout-out of praise becomes something that occurs once per month or grows into a huge annual event for your organization. Perhaps it’s something smaller; like that much-needed and well-earned Happy Hour that now occurs every Friday or once per month. Whatever it is… it’s now important, expected, and synonymous with your team and the company. Organizations and Families benefit from traditions… something meaningful, expected, and cherished that brings people together for a common purpose. Some people may grit their teeth about it and the process it demands, but always tend to be missed if and when it stops!
My favorite tradition I’ve had the honor of being involved in as an employee happened completely by accident! I was a Mental Health Worker in an Alternative School for youth struggling emotionally, behaviorally, and with their mental health diagnosis. On the last day of school, all staff lined-up on both sides of the hallway to dismiss the students one bus at a time. The first classroom was dismissed and as the students walked down the hallway with teachers, staff, and counselors on both sides… staff started to clap, cheer, say the student’s names, give high-fives, and it became a cheering gauntlet of love and positivity! To our surprise, we never saw the students smile so big, try to hide their pride, and some almost bursting with appreciation. It dawned on me… this may have been the first time many of the students had ever been applauded for, made to feel accomplished, or special. I’m proud to say this became a powerful and fun tradition which I hope is still happening to this day!
Whether the “Fun” you create for your team is planned, spontaneous, Activity, Impact, or becomes Tradition… Be sure to FOLLOW-THROUGH! With the chaotic pace of the day, the quarter, the year, and the projects… it’s easy to get caught being busy. Too busy to remember that silly “Fun Thing” that doesn’t rank up there in the importance of making revenue, having regular protocol meetings, and maintaining customer satisfaction. The truth is… your people appreciate it; not all will love it, however, most employees will appreciate your effort to marry the companies vision of “Fun” with theirs!
Don’t be so busy being busy or so busy being your definition of great you, your team, and the organization forgets to follow-through with having a bit of “Fun” at work! I’ve found, what’s scheduled gets done. Whether it’s a meeting, a task, or fun… when it’s in your calendar, the team’s calendar, and the organization’s calendar it gets planned and done!
You have your definition of “Fun” at work. You’re willing to follow-through and have done a great job at consistency. Now, it’s time to upgrade the experience. Doing something once may be great, twice is good, three times is ok, the fourth is freakin boring! When you aren’t focused on upgrading the experience as a leader; you may find yourself flying into Burnoutville and Frustratedtown as you begin to hear your team complaining, “This same thing again” or looking as if they’d rather be anywhere else and doing anything else. Be mindful to gift your people with an upgraded experience over time; including their suggestions and possibly the talents of outside experts to assist with planning!
This is imperative! It would be a shame to plan for “Fun”, follow-through, and upgrade only to be miserable throughout the process. Enjoy the impact of gifting your team and organization, enhancing your leadership, and their work/life harmony! This isn’t to say the process of “Fun” isn’t taxing; as the behind the scenes of any amusement park is packed with hard-working, diligent, and tired staff.
As a leader, know what you need to nurse yourself to protect from burn-out, what to delegate and who to delegate it to (possibly creating a “Fun” Committee), or potentially utilizing companies or consultants specializing in event planning. This mixed with your consistent personal leadership of showing up daily with your head up, eyes up, smiling, greeting, doing your best, and being your best will allow you to better enjoy the “Fun”!
You may be asking yourself… “How can we do fun when we’re working remote (due to the times we’re living in)?”. This is a great question with many answers. Some I’ve seen, some I’ve done, and others I’m sure you, your team, and consultants can brainstorm.
One company sent each of their team members gift baskets with treats to be enjoyed on their virtual meeting. Another company sent Happy Hour gift baskets to be enjoyed for a Virtual Happy Hour. I have a rule of screens up and be willing to unmute during my Virtual Leadership Trainings and utilize group hand-claps as an applause when attendees share their P.O.W. ( Positive of the Week). Most people will not be met at their front door, or enter their office, or turn on their computer to an applause. Remember, applause and appreciation go a long way professionally and personally! Maybe you know the feeling of having small children rush to you when you walk in your front door… or a pet that’s overjoyed to see you return… this is the closest most of us get to that applause. It feels great to be applauded for and appreciated. There are many more ways to have “Fun” virtually and I implore you and your team to get to brainstorming and enjoy the 4 Keys to “Fun” at work!
“Don’t be so busy being busy or so busy being great that you, your team, and the organization forgets to follow through on having a bit of fun at work!”
– Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
Enhance Leadership and Work/Life Harmony in your Organization, your Leaders, Employees, and Teams with Andre Young’s Speaking Engagements, Evolve & Lead Training Programs (on-site, online, or virtual), and1-on-1 Growth Sessions! www.youevolvingnow.com