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How leaders’ humor styles influence workers

The study of 514 individuals concluded that the leader’s mood has an impact on teams and the way they work, with positive mood-building confidence and reducing deviant behavior.

Professor and researcher at Nova SBE (Nova School of Business & Economics), Pedro Neves, developed a study on Humor in Leadership, examining how leaders’ humor styles impact teams and how they develop their work. . The study’s findings reveal that a leader with a positive style boosts employee trust, maintains better relationships and reduces deviant behaviors. While a leader with a negative mood destroys the trust of employees and harms the performance of teams.

Pedro Neves says that “one of the topics that has always fascinated me is the use of humor as a management tool. Although a few years ago it could have been seen as a strange topic, nowadays some of the most successful companies use it as part of their DNA. However, there are still several unanswered questions, namely about how leader humor works and who it is most beneficial/harmful for”.

The starting point for the study sought to analyze whether the positive leader’s mood styles help to create trust in the supervisor, with consequences for performance and deviant behaviors. The rationale behind the study is that positive humor has positive effects on trustworthiness and arouses the desire to reciprocate the same treatment, either by improving work or by avoiding engaging in destructive behavior towards the organization. On the other hand, a negative mood means that the leader lacks self-confidence and does not care about the well-being of others and triggers deviant behaviors resulting in lower performance.

The study sample consisted of 514 employed individuals and their supervisors from 19 organizations from different sectors in Portugal.

Another point that was taken into account in the study was the idea that humor may be more important for some people than for others. The results of the study showed that regardless of opinions, a negative mood reduces trust in the supervisor.

Pedro Neves states that “a positive leader’s mood will help maintain relationships in the workplace and improve employee behavior, especially for vulnerable individuals. On the other hand, it is clear that a leader’s mood can “backfire” if The negative leader’s styles of humor are harmful, so it’s not about “using humor at all costs” but rather using it appropriately and in context.

Source: DN

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