Tim Miles, after studying the affect of live comedy on the audience, discovered that comedy is serious business.
After analyzing interviews and surveys from comedians and their audiences, Miles discovered that both groups connected significantly because of a shared admiration and empathy. As the audience identified with a comedian's story and/or observation about life, a bond was built between the audience and the comedian.
Miles writes in the journal Comedy Studies, "...live stand up comedy fulfills a need for feelings of truth, trust, empathy ,and intimacy between people, which is really important in a society where many people often complain about being isolated."
As a leader, your job is to connect to the people you lead. As renowned leadership development expert, Marshall Goldsmith said, "Leadership is a contact sport." This study reminds us that one of the best ways for you to connect with others is through your sense of humor. The better able you are able to connect with others and build empathic bonds with them, the more influence you will have in their lives.
Here are three ways to develop your own sense of humor:
Lighten up and don't take yourself too seriously. Treat life and yourself lightly. My motto is "Life is too serious to take seriously."
Take an improv or stand-up comedy class. You will laugh and have fun while learning about the art of comedy and storytelling.
Smile more. The better attitude you bring to life, the more likely you'll find what's funny about life.