Why humor and authenticity are key for effective leadership – Kathy Klotz-Guest

In today’s episode of The Small Business Show, we discuss the use of humor in leadership development and the importance of balancing professionalism with employee engagement. Our special guest for the episode is Kathy Klotz-Guest, Founder of Keeping It Human, Author, Improv comedian, and Keynote Speaker.

As a former leader at Silicon Valley Tech with a background in stand-up and improv comedy, Klotz-Guest believes the two fields can complement each other more often than people would think. 

Key Takeaways

1. Klotz-Guest affirms that it’s crucial to incorporate humor and personal development because sometimes leaders take themselves too seriously, making it difficult for others to take them seriously. “So the key essentially is to continue being your authentic self, be relaxed, a little vulnerable, and really connect with your team,” she says. 

2. If entrepreneurs are worried they might offend someone by mixing humor and leadership, Klotz-Guest suggests asking two questions: Am I laughing with or at them? The difference between the two is significant. As long as you uplift others, make them laugh, be inclusive, and avoid discussing inappropriate topics at work, the possibility of being offensive is low.

3. To attract and retain the younger generation of workers, leaders must create a transformational space and, overall, a great place to work. Your team cares not so much about the bean bags or cool pool tables but rather about leaders showing up with the capacity to create a space for positive laughter. 

4. “The biggest, yet most important factor of storytelling is change,” which means you don’t have to be perfect. Be honest or transparent because that is what your team is seeking. “And if you’re willing to do that, the message you’re sending out sets the tone for your organization.”

5. Employees should have fun during their workday, which includes laughing and avoiding uptight leadership. In other words, work shouldn’t always feel serious and stressful. It’s important for employees to be able to enjoy what they do and have a positive outlook on their work. By encouraging a fun and relaxed work environment, employees are more likely to be satisfied and motivated in their jobs, which can lead to increased productivity and success for the company.

"Part of why people don't innovate at work today is due to fear."

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