Thursday, August 07, 2008

Having FUN In Leadership

Author: Richard Gorham

"Don't measure your life by your goals, but rather by what you are DOING to achieve them." –Unknown

One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is getting so wrapped up in achieving results, they forget to ensure that people are having fun along the way. Indeed, having fun is a key ingredient of keeping employee morale up, and inspiring people to continue to work aggressively toward a common set of objectives.

We here at were recently discussing the subject of inspirational leadership. Although our discussion took many detours into various subject areas, we found ourselves returning to the basic concept of - having FUN in the workplace.

As a leader, you might be thinking that ""FUN"" is important, but it cannot be paramount in terms of achieving results.

We challenge you, however, to not just think of having in terms of the ""webster"" definition.

As a leader, YOU need to define fun, and communicate YOUR definition of fun to your team.

First, let us lay the foundation with a bit of ""FUN - philosophy"" as we work toward our own definition of ""Leadership Fun in the Workplace"".

We believe there is a huge difference between highly successful leaders and those leaders who are working incredibly hard, but not quite achieving the same level of results. The difference, we believe, is in leadership styles. What do we mean?

The highly successful leader today facilitates, leads by example, encourages and participates with their team members to achieve TEAM results.

When the entire team feels fully engaged and a part of the process, then every team member takes personal pride in achieving the results.

Having FUN along the way supports engagement of each team member. Think about it, being ""engaged"" is fun.

Let's be frank, the days where the leader is a strong authoritative director and where all employees simply wait to see what the manager tells everyone to do does NOT produce the results that are recognized by a fully engaged team. The leader may be having fun, but his/her subordinates certainly are not.

Managers who want to micro-manage all the details are finding that it is virtually impossible to do. The marketplace simply demands too much for one person to micro-manage their team.

We all have incredible people working for us, and if we are effective leaders we need to create an environment where every employee feels like they are empowered, and understand they are expected to proactively contribute. Okay, let's get to our definition of Leadership Fun in the Workplace.

To those of us here at, FUN is NOT always laughing, being light-hearted, having low stress, and being comfortable.

Quite the contrary – FUN is:

Working in an environment where people are challenged, they learn new skills, they grow, they seek opportunity and advancement, they take risks, they ask forgiveness - not always permission. People with these traits make an organization grow - these people succeed more often than fail - and ultimately reap the rewards and recognition of one who consistently achieves results. They stay motivated with the knowledge that they are the exception to the common rule of human behavior. All told, they are having FUN because they make a difference and a contribution - they simply do not allow themselves to settle for the status quo. They would rather experience ""engagement"" - because being engaged - is FUN! Good luck, and have fun.

About the author: Richard Gorham is the founder and President of Leadership-Tools, Inc. His web site, is dedicated to providing free tools and resources for today's aspiring leaders. Offering high-quality tools in the areas of Business Planning, Leadership Development, Customer Service, Sales Management and Team Building.


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