About the importance of fun

Richard de Jongh

Typically, good leaders are also fun people.

I’ve used a few rules of thumb for as long as I’ve been a head-hunter. First, a candidate has to be made of tropical hardwood in order to remain steady in a storm. Also, a candidate for a leadership position must be able to make a killing, to create movement even when things seem to be at a complete standstill. Then, the ego should not get in the way of correctly fulfilling the position, it should not be dominantly present. Finally, a candidate must be fun.

Before I discuss a great position with a candidate, the research consultants have already reviewed several aspects. What is the candidate’s education, experience and leadership skills? In short, all sorts of competences have been mapped before the candidate and I meet. During that meeting, the candidate’s personality will be thoroughly assessed.

The fun aspect of a person counts. I’ve always used it as a distinctive criterion and continue to do so. A team performs better when the leader is a nice person. A conversation with a client goes smoother when the manager is pleasant and charming.

Buddhism says that everyone has a little Buddha inside them. A child in the cradle smiles at the world. Gradually, one’s existence gets influenced by the society in which one is raised. You could say that the mirror of the mind becomes cloudy. It is important to always try to return to the initial stage, to that clear and happy mind. Because then you believe in opportunities, you believe in growth, you believe in improvement and you are confident. A leader who doesn’t have a positive mindset is a sad person and better quit. A leader who’s balanced, is also cheerful, optimistic and calm. Fun.

Multinationals employ managers who develop strategies and methodologies of all sorts that are rolled out at all branches, all factories, anywhere in the world. They have to deal with a great variety of cultures, with various standards and values. If people working for local branches think: there’s that jerk again, that rigid guy, with his ‘smart’ ideas, that’s when it becomes complicated. But if these managers are outgoing, accessible, and show they are interested in more than just business operations, they will be welcomed enthusiastically at local operations.

Well, when do you perceive a person as fun? Let’s not try to model it. Let’s leave it to intuition. I think we all get the picture. A fun person is positive, receptive, involved and has a sense of humour. Basic things, not at all complicated, but very important. So just do it, be a fun person. It helps, it really helps in order to be a good leader.

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