Based on this understanding of the differential nature of transformational and pseudo-transformational leadership, and how humility and narcissism contrast leaders' self- vs other-oriented motivation, we examine how leaders express their values and concern for others using humor.
We chose humor as a mechanism through which leaders express their concern for others because of the potential for humor to be both a weapon to harm others and a tool to build relationships.
Humor and leadership Humor in the workplace has been identified as beneficial for reducing stress, promoting a "Fun" culture, encouraging group cohesion, and encouraging communication.
Although those perspectives are seemingly contradictory, our conceptualization of the relationship between transformational leadership and humor allows for both of these perspectives to be correct: some forms of humor are destructive, such as those that demean others, whereas other forms of humor are constructive, such as those that preserve and even strengthen the leader-follower relationship.
The nature and effects of aggressive humor can be gleaned from the superiority theory of humor, which posits that aggressive humor reinforces and maintains existing norms and hierarchical structures so that the interpersonal distance between leaders and followers increases.
We found a main effect for type of humor on humorousness of speech, F(3, 150) 3.15, po0.05, Z2 0.06, such that those in the control group reported the speech to be significantly less funny than those in the self-deprecating condition, and no additional significant differences were found among the self-, in- group-deprecating, and aggressive humor conditions on humorousness of the speech.
As a sign of high relationship quality and closeness, distinctive humor practices between the leader and follower may result, and thereby echo previous research which has documented the emergence of distinctive humor practices in group contexts.
A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of gettingthings done (Dwight D. Eisenhower).The power of humor has been well documented in a range of literatures, includingneurology (e.g. Bartoloet al., 2006; Coulson and Williams, 2005), communications (e.g.Gorham and Christophel, 1990; Wanzeret al., 2005), and applied psychology(e.g. Cooper, 2005; Ford and Ferguson, 2004). In organizational studies, there has beensome focus on leaders’ use of humor (e.g. Romero and Cruthirds, 2006) and itsconsequences on work satisfaction (e.g. Davis and Kleiner, 1989), collegiality (e.g.Bowlinget al., 2004), and psychological climate (e.g. Taylor and Bain, 2003). Extendingprevious research, we focus on whether the type of humor that leaders use is associatedwith perceptions of their leadership, in particular transformational leaders. Transformational leadership is comprised of four components: idealized influence,inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration(Bass, 1998). Idealized influence occurs when leaders treat followers fairly and earnfollowers’ trust and respect, thereby serving as a role model. As such, there are twoparts to idealized influence: an attributional component made on the part of thefollower, and a behavioral component enacted by the leader. Inspirational motivationencompasses expressing a compelling vision of the future for followers, andmotivating followers to surpass their expectations. Intellectual stimulation involvesencouraging followers to look at problems in new and different ways, to be creative,and to think independently. Last, individualized consideration entails leaders beingattentive and sensitive to followers’ individual needs and skills. Collectively, the goalof the four facets of transformational leadership is to elevate followers, and to this end,transformational leadership has been associated with higher organizationalperformance (e.g. Dviret al., 2002), employee satisfaction (e.g. Nemanich and Keller,2007), organizational commitment (e.g. Barlinget al., 1996), and employee proactivity(e.g. Madzar, 2001)
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