Some folks believe it is ironic that one of my leadership principles is “Have Fun”. They believe that being a leader is all about dedication and hard work. That’s true, but it is not the complete story. There is more to life than just work. We must have fun as well.
I believe that leaders must demonstrate that it is OK to have fun. They must show those folks around them that they have fun, and want them to as well. They should talk about things other than work. They should highlight their passions and show everyone what they enjoy.
There are people who believe that they should work hard today, but play hard tomorrow. I hear that all the time. Folks tell me that they have goals and aspirations, and that if they don’t work hard to accomplish those today they will fall short. The problem with that logic is obvious. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. I know of many folks who worked hard up to the day they died, and never got to experience the have fun part of life.
It is a proven fact that if leaders have created an environment where it is OK to have fun, employees will look forward to coming to work, and work harder when they get there. If you look closely at those companies rated as the highest in employee satisfaction, they all have programs within their organization intended to have fun.
As a military leader I strongly supported clubs, both officer and non-commissioned officer. They were places where dedicated professionals could gather on a routine basis and “let their hair down”. They could talk about the week they just completed, and think thru what lies ahead, in a very relaxed environment. When I commanded Fort Hood every leader on the post joined me at the officer’s club on Friday at 4:30pm. They would listen to me speak for a few minutes, and then just have fun.
Let me give you another example of a program I implemented at Fort Hood. One of my passions is motorcycle riding. I would routinely sponsor motorcycle rides, called Phantom Thunder. I did that for two primary reasons. The first reason was to show folks that there was more to Lynch than just work. After one ride, one of my Soldiers posted a picture of me on Facebook, with a caption “My General is cooler than yours”. The second reason was to emphasize motorcycle safety.
Let’s make it a point to emphasize the “have fun” portion of our lives, both at home and in our work place. We’ll be glad we did.