Leadership By Humor

A characteristic of the great saints is their power of levity. Pride is the downward drag of all things into an easy solemnity. One “settles down” into a sort of selfish seriousness but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light. ~ GK Chesterton

If you are going to lead, and we all lead, as we are all leaders, you must laugh! 

Not only is laughter more healing for the soul than sadness, but it also represents a focus on the good coming from mistakes. All of us should laugh at ourselves and not at others.

Have you ever been with others, and someone says or does something and all of you can’t stop laughing? Laughter fuses us together. You can read Googled articles on the healing benefits of laughing.

A good leader must have the ability to laugh.

But some leaders have lost the ability to laugh – perhaps taking themselves too seriously. Since the best humor “picks on self,” some leaders are too insecure for laughter.

Consider leaders in your life. Do they laugh a lot – especially at themselves? That’s a leader to follow.

Once, I interviewed two nationally known leaders for a magazine article. One of them opened the interview with a short harangue on how I should write my article. The other told me a story about a mistake made that morning and then started laughing.

Easy to decide which interview I enjoyed the most.

Following are hints and helps in developing a solid theology of humor – some to avoid and others to embrace.

Laughter in sermons.  My favorite preachers are those who’ve developed a sense of humor. The humor can be dry, droll, wry, or witty. The best humor is preachers laughing at themselves.

Controlling laughter.  I’ve been to churches and watched leaders with their teams and the laughter’s died. Often an insecure leader gives a sideways glance when someone laughs at the leader’s mistake. The team and the church quickly learn to be solemn.  

Jesus laughed a lot.  Nowhere in the Gospels does it mention Jesus laughing. I believe the recent series on Jesus (The Chosen) gets it right. There is a scene in an early episode in which Jesus tells the “soon to be apostles” to throw their nets on the other side of the boat. The nets fill so quickly that the boat almost tips over. Jesus begins to laugh, and the apostles laugh. Have you ever laughed for joy?

Laughing to edify.  Laughter should never belittle. All of us painfully remember a time when someone, or a group of someones, laughed at us. Great laughter lifts and fills the room with grace and mercy.

Are you learning to laugh or losing your laughter?

Interruptions includes humor – about me and cats.

I also often discuss my Miggy Moments (Interruption #214 at Miggy Moments – and my enduring frustration at the great Fritos© shortage of 2021 (Interruption #468 The Great Fritos® Shortage –

I can picture you this summer, sitting at the beach or a campfire with a group of friends and it happens – something funny happens – the laughing starts, and you almost fall down from laughing.

Send me the story!

A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4, NLT).