I began my professional life quite early when I was 20 years old (...and now I'm 36 sigh) working in C and C++ and getting happy discovering memory leaks and managing pointers... but that's another story!
For the first years very often I was the youngest in the companies I joined and sometimes they seems to be fool giving some small managing duties or customers visits. That was very stressful to me because of my lack of experience and this was considered by me a huge problem. Also I thought that because I was one of youngest I had to compensate appearing as the most serious and concrete guy in the world...
Big mistake! (Or maybe not, I don't know because I cannot change that times..who knows!).
What I learnt during time is that serious and coercive management doesn't pay and create unnecessary stress...
My approach (that I've to say is spontaneous) is leading by example, working with my team and giving also to myself technical assignment (or accepting assignment suggested by colleagues), in this way there isn't predefined hierarchy but just a single and whole team!
In this way you can joke and kid freely (for example when a small error is done by someone) and keep in mind that teaching by kidding of errors is the best approach (people remember things during an emotion and lightly kid with someone provide a positive emotion)...
A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about all of this because I'm not sure if this is a good approach.
Very often we have teams kidding and laughing and, I've to say, we achieve very good results but...it could also be a little bit disorienting (in Italy it's not so common having a funny work environment)
Well, maybe I've found the answer by myself reading some books regarding who the brain working and cognitive engineering (Brain Rules from John Medina and Body Language from Allan and Barbara Pease)
It’s very easy:
- When you truly laugh a lot of endorphin is released in your body...
- Endorphin is very similar to morphine, it increases the heart rate but doesn't stimulate the cortisol generation (which usually is generated with morphine to slow down its effects over brain but having a lot of collateral effects…)
- Increasing the heart rate also the breath rate increase and in this way more oxygen is delivered by blood
- More oxygen in the blood also means more oxygen for the brain and with oxygen the brain works better!
So having a lot of laughs on work environment it's good and it should be a must! ...it's chemically demonstrated!