How successful leaders create a fun culture and why it matters

3wh fun and play

Work is hard. Hard work leads to success. Slave to work. It's a dog eat dog world. 

These attitudes don't make me want to jump out of bed and skip to work each day. Thankfully attitudes are changing and for the next generation of leaders, #LeaderX, play and fun is one of their top values. Perhaps it was because they saw their own parents working so hard (for which they are grateful) and suffer stress and burnout, only to be discarded in the next round of cost cutting redundancies. Perhaps it's because they are the perpetual Peter Pans who don't really want to grow up and grow old. Whatever the reason, we are seeing more and more play and fun being introduced into the fabric of business culture.

I searched job titles in Linkedin and found some great job titles that demonstrates play and fun is becoming mainstream.


These are in my 1st and 2nd connections



It's quite staggering and really awesome.


  • 50 407 Chief Happiness Officer
  • 180 000 Director of Happinesss 
  • 1 300 000 People Engagement

The case for more fun

The research backs it up - people who enjoy their work are more likely to keep going until the job is done, gets better results and take more accountability. 

Pros

  • Happiness is contageous. When a leader is genuinely happy, passionate and joyful, others are too. Smile and someone usually smiles back.
  • Happy employees have a good attitude. When I am happy, the world seems a better place to be, and so it is in the workplace too
  • Fun, play and happiness activates a different part of your brain - the bit where creativity, solutions and innovation happens.

...and of course then there are less sick days, less problems, better results, pride in your company, a sense of belonging, loyalty...  it just makes sense.


It doesn't mean every meeting needs to be over a table tennis game or whilst chilling out on bean bags - though that's cool. Play is a mindset. 


It looks like:

  • celebrating, success, birthdays,weddings, passing a driving test - whatever.
  • Charity days, dress down days, team fundraising.
  • Brainstorming, to playfully and creatively find solutions.
  • Teambuilding games and activities that help people bond and share moments.
  • Sports and socials - 5-aside, walking groups, christmas parties, Friday drinks, reading groups.
  • Playing games, adding incentives and competitions, setting tasks and challenges
  • Family fun days, trips, gatherings and inclusion

Top tips

  1. Don't force it. Let people volunteer in. You might find the more you do it, the more people voluntarily opt-in
  2. Make it a value and role model it. If it is important, prioritise it. If Managers and leaders role model fun, it encourages others to relax and enjoy the experience too.
  3. Appreciate differences. Everyone has fun in different ways - be mindful of jokes and banter, choosing not to offend and get to know your people and what they enjoy doing.
  4. Variety. Be creative and throw different kinds of fun into the mix. The same old, same old soon becomes boring and, well, not fun.


Conclusion

As the lines between work and life become blurred, and attitudes to what work is and how we want to do it change, creating environments where people enjoy their work is paramount. If you want the rewards for having more fun and play in the workplace, make it a priority and lighten up.

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