Try a little gallows humor

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

It hasn’t been much fun at a whole lot of workplaces lately.

An executive met with his team to review their declining sales and delayed launches. Despite their hard work, the bad news was relentless, including tattered consumer confidence and some bad press about the company’s ineptitude. The 401(k)s didn’t look so hot, either.

Half an hour into a meeting, the CEO paused, loosened his tie and shook out his arms.

“Are we having fun yet?” he asked. “In the past 24 hours, who’s had the worst business experience?”

As they joked about each horror story, the tension lifted. The CEO had given his team a brief respite. It didn’t change reality, but it helped.

—Adapted from The Leadership Code, Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood, Kate Sweetman, Harvard Business Press
 

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