Are Leaders Always Serious?

Being Taken Seriously

A frequent question leaders new and old will ask is whether or not they have to be serious. You know, they wonder if they have to have the stern face, commanding voice, and never smile.

It’s a great leadership question to ask. This is because leadership has often been portrayed as stuffy, serious business.

Man with a serious look on his face

Photo by Ieva Vizule

There’s no doubt leadership is serious business. Serious business doesn’t mean there’s no room for a little fun.

Are Leaders Always Serious?

By the first couple of paragraphs, you already know my answer to this pressing question. No, leaders do not have to be serious all of the time.

There are times a leader needs to be serious. A leader needs to be serious when:

  • he is letting a team member go
  • business decisions are impacting team members
  • the organization is closing its doors
  • benefit packages are being rearranged
  • customers are upset
  • and many more…

So, yes… There is a time and a place to be serious. Business requires seriousness. But it also can be a lot of fun.

When To Have Fun As A Leader

There are plenty of times a leader can have fun and let loose a little more than one would think. It’s okay to enjoy your time as a leader and the people you work with.

You may be wondering, when is it okay for a leader to have fun? Glad you asked. It’s okay to have fun as a leader when:

  • the organization has seen great success. There’s no better time to have fun by celebrating landing a big client or reporting major gains in revenue.
  • a team member experiences a major, positive life event. Someone on your team got married? Celebrate with them. Through a little party and let them know you’re excited. Another team member had a baby boy? Tell them how life-changing the event is and offer your congratulations.
  • there’s downtime in the office. I know, I know… There’s never any time for downtime in the office. But we all know that’s a lie. Much of the day is spent doing frivolous tasks or trying to look busy. reports that out of an 8.8 hour day, team members are productive two hours and 53 minutes a day. That’s a lot of wasted time. You can change it by making it a little more fun and encouraging others to work harder.
  • a person leaves the team. Yes, you’re losing a valuable asset. They will, hopefully, be missed. But you can have fun and rejoice with the person as they leave to pursue their passion and mission in life.

Don’t let the appearance of seriousness keep you from being fun. You don’t have to be serious to be a leader. You can love fun, have a good time, and still lead well.

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