Leaders Laugh at Other People’s Jokes

By | November 21, 2018

[November 21, 2018]  There are a lot of things leaders do to make themselves approachable.1  They do this for many reasons; all of which have to do with acting as a catalyst to get the mission accomplished and taking care of people.  One thing all good leaders do is laugh at other people’s jokes.

Of course, this idea is only to highlight that there are many things a leader does to attract people to them.  For example, we know that complimenting others is what makes happy and that the leader is listening to them.  It makes it seem as if the leader gets them as a person.  If you want to see this in action, watch standup comedy or improv.

Laughter and happiness are habits and the more you can cultivate them in others the better you’ll get at it as a leader.  The better you get at this the more people will enjoy being around you.  This attracts even more people to you because you make them feel better.

One way to do this is through the use of playful teasing by poking fun and self-deprecating humor to get everyone on the same social level.  In today’s world where everything is taken as an offense, a leader should take great care in its use. Also, be cautious not to attack someone’s identity or tease something that is important to them; it serves no useful purpose.

Laughing at other people’s jokes means more than a simple laugh but a deep, overly appreciative laugh is required.  Frequent practice around strong friends and family will be beneficial; especially if you request constructive feedback.

Sincere praise is a great way to begin any conversation involving jokes and is a great way to bring people to your side.  This praise must be sincere or it will backfire and have unfortunate and unpredictable results.  It allows a leader to use humor but only after it is established you are no threat.  So, beware.

Humor is a great motivator.  Its value goes beyond making people feel good.  It is actually good physically and psychologically.  And, for the leader, it pulls people to a leader who is effective in its use.


  1. https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-34-approachable/
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

30 thoughts on “Leaders Laugh at Other People’s Jokes

  1. Joe Omerrod

    From the bully pulpit, we demand more jokes. HA HA HA HA HA HA

  2. Sadako Red

    In my articles here at Gen. Satterfield’s blog, I have opened up the idea that those politicians who run cities like Baltimore, Chicago, etc., are humorless. Whether that is the liberal ideology they hold onto at all costs or simply their personality, their lack of humor helps push those big city governments to poor decision making and the downfall of the city.

    1. Albert Ayer

      I think I speak for everyone here that we are great fans of yours.

  3. Tracey Brockman

    What a great topic. Thanks. I was reading it while getting ready for work and it made my day. Today, I think I will go out of my way to make a few jokes around my colleagues. Good practice if nothing else.

  4. Nick Lighthouse

    Great article today and just before Thanksgiving Day in the US. To all those who read this blog, thank you for helping make it a worthwhile place to gain knowledge about leaders and leadership.

  5. Dale Paul Fox

    If there ever was a topic for leaders to study, humor and laughing at others’ jokes, would be one of them. There are, however, other ways to connect to people but I think one of the hardest is, in fact, humor. I’m starting to see more on the Internet on how to actually accomplish this.

  6. Scotty Bush

    When I first read your article today, I thought, “wow, is he saying leaders USE people.” Then, no, I thought that real leaders actually do care about others. There may be a fine line here. The leaders who use people for the leaders’ own ends and leaders who want the mission done and care for those who carry it out. This is not an easy or clear division between the two. Care must be taken not to be a fake leader and ‘use’ people.

  7. Len Jakosky

    Jokes make the world go around. Leadership is the grease to ensure the wheels turn and jokes push those wheels.

  8. Willie Shrumburger

    Psychologists, philosophers, medical doctors, and a host of ‘experts’ have said that humor is good for us all. The trick as a leader is to appear to enjoy the jokes of others to make them feel valuable, respected, and honored. This is not easy to do and why leaders must understand this and practice it.

  9. Lynn Pitts

    Milton Berle once said that “laughter is an instant vacation.” What he means is that this is a window into the souls of others. It makes us better people.

    1. Gil Johnson

      … and Mark Twain said that humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.

  10. Doc Blackshear

    Humor is a great way to break down barriers. Whether it’s a social, class, or economic barrier, humor helps us be better communicators. Like US Pres Ronald Reagan, the great communicator, said, ‘The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.’

  11. Eric Coda

    You can’t fake it. If you genuinely like someone’s humor, then laugh. Otherwise, it will be obvious that you are faking.

    1. Max Foster

      Good to see you are still on at Gen. Satterfield’s blog. When will you be posting again? We are all big fans.

      1. Delf A. "Jelly"

        Not sure when, but I’ll link up with Gen. Satterfield about another one soon. Thanks Max for being one of my fans.

  12. Mark Evans

    Agreed that the idea is for a leader to be ‘approachable.’ The flip side to this is that the leader must also actually make themselves available. Time is the issue and a resource that is in little supply for important leaders.

  13. Danny Burkholder

    The key here, I think, is that leaders should make themselves approachable. That way, they are more likely to have people come to them with information that can be used by the leader to make better decisions. Even if others don’t approach the leader, at least they know it is possible if they were required to do so.

  14. Janna Faulkner

    Jokes are a good way to level the playing field among people. It is a good way to make us feel better and respond better, even when the circumstances are poor. Jokes are simply good things.

    1. Dennis Mathes

      Comedians are not as respected as in the past. Why? They insult everyone.

    2. Yusaf from Texas

      I agree although I’m not sure about what Millennials think today.

  15. Army Captain

    Good point and, yes, I do laugh at other people’s jokes. Ha Ha!

    1. Anita

      So do It and as it should be. Leaders must ensure everyone knows they will take care of them.

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