posted by Sheryl Barden on March 15, 2024

Sheryl Barden, Jennifer Pickerel Stepbrothers photo remake - power of levity

This article about the power of levity originally appeared in Aviation International News.

Thanks to a recent team photoshoot, I’ve come to realize the immense power of infusing fun into the workplace. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the seriousness of business. Especially in business aviation, where safety, precision, and compliance are paramount. We can often get so focused that we forget to find joy in our everyday environment.

But a recent experience reminded me of the profound impact that moments of levity can have on organizational culture and team dynamics.

It all started when our v-p, Jennifer Pickerel, suggested we recreate the “Stepbrothers” movie poster for our team photo. Admittedly, I was a bit perplexed at first—I hadn’t even seen the movie! But seeing the enthusiasm from Jennifer and the rest of the team, I decided to go along with it. After all, we were wearing matching blue jackets, so why not?

As we posed for the camera, the photographer instructed me to make a forlorn expression, a direction that left me even more bewildered. But despite my lack of familiarity with the movie, I found myself caught up in the moment, laughing along with my colleagues as we brought the scene to life.

Jennifer PIckerel - Aviation Personnel International - Sheryl Barden - power of levity - stepbrothers remake

What followed was unexpected but incredibly gratifying. When Jennifer posted the photo on LinkedIn, it garnered an incredible amount of attention with 30,000 impressions and counting. Our colleagues and connections alike praised our creativity and sense of humor. It was heartwarming to see how our spontaneous decision to allow ourselves to be silly and have fun had resonated with so many people.

power of levity - Jennifer Pickerel LinkedIn comments - Stepbrothers

The Power of Levity

Reflecting on the experience, I realized that while humor may be subjective and generational, the universal appeal of shared laughter knows no bounds. In a world where remote work and digital communication can sometimes feel impersonal, moments of genuine connection and laughter are more important than ever.

Another fun way to bring in levity is to poke fun at yourself for the sake of motivating others. Maybe you’ll bet the team that if they achieve a certain goal, you’ll wear a funny costume to work, sing karaoke, or even die your hair electric blue for a day.

Of course, it’s essential to strike a balance between fun and professionalism. While playful banter and lighthearted moments can foster camaraderie and boost morale, it’s crucial to ensure that humor is always respectful and inclusive. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to create environments where everyone feels comfortable and valued, regardless of their sense of humor or background.

The success of our “Stepbrothers” photoshoot served as a powerful reminder of the value of embracing spontaneity and authenticity in the workplace. In a fast-paced and often demanding business environment, it’s easy to lose sight of the human element behind the work we do. But by making room for fun and laughter, we not only strengthen bonds within our team but also remind ourselves of the joy that comes from connecting with others on a deeper level.

Laughter can Transform a Work Team

In conclusion, I’m grateful for the opportunity to have fun at work and for colleagues like Jennifer who remind us of the importance of embracing moments of levity. As leaders, let’s not underestimate the power of laughter to transform our workplaces and bring out the best in ourselves and our teams. After all, as our “Stepbrothers” photoshoot demonstrated, sometimes the most unexpected moments can lead to the most significant impact.

Sheryl Barden, CAM, is the president and CEO of Aviation Personnel International, the longest-running recruiting and HR consulting firm exclusively serving business aviation. A thought leader on all things related to business aviation professionals, Barden is an NBAA CAM Fellow and formerly served on NBAA’s board of directors and its advisory council.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily endorsed by AIN Media Group.

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