Do you ever wonder how you manage to maintain your sanity from day to day? The office can be a stressful place, which I\u2019m certain I don\u2019t need to tell you (ignore the fact that I just did \u2013 it was more of a rhetorical device). Anyway, the frequency with which things can go quickly and unexpectedly wrong is enough to make me want to stay home some days, safely cocooned in my house, kept happy and warm by Netflix and some varietal of delicious snack. It\u2019s these moments at the \u201cget me out of here I simply cannot take this anymore\u201d threshold when humor is most valuable.\nAnyone can be funny when everything\u2019s going well. Knocked that presentation out of the park? Finally close that elusive account? Resolve that nagging reporting issue? Great! Humorous anecdotes all around! Probably champagne also! While celebrating successes is important in its own right, let\u2019s hone in on those less pleasant moments I mentioned above. Being able to look at situations such as these with a bit of levity not only provides temporary relief from less-than-pleasant moments, it can help us work through them creatively. When bad things happen, teams look to leadership for inspiration, to tell them everything\u2019s going to be okay, and to provide a clear path through the stressful situation.\nHere\u2019s my best advice for how to lead tech teams (or any teams, for that matter) with a bit more fun:\nRealize today\u2019s screw up won\u2019t kill you\nThink about a terrible situation that happened to you at work, say, ten years ago. I\u2019m guessing most of you can laugh at them at this point since they\u2019re comfortably in the rearview mirror. You survived them (congrats!), and now they\u2019re great fodder for a laugh. Here\u2019s one of mine: when I was in graduate school, I landed an interview for a food scientist position at a fledgling little coffee shop called Starbucks. Hear of \u2018em? I hadn\u2019t. Well, I\u2019m not a huge fan of coffee (more of a tea person, thanks for asking), and didn\u2019t take the interview seriously at all. Obviously, I didn\u2019t get the job. You can imagine how pleased I was with myself a few years later when Starbucks suddenly became ubiquitous. Frappucinos haunted my dreams for months.\nMy career is full of \u201cI wish I would have,\u201d \u201cI can\u2019t believe that just happened,\u201d and \u201cHow the hell did I survive that\u201d situations \u2013 and that\u2019s ok. We are successful in spite of our missteps, and it\u2019s immensely helpful to us and the teams we lead to share these stories. It sounds counterintuitive, but when we share stories about a time we did something dumb or looked foolish, others respect and follow us all the more for it. Why? Because in doing so, we reveal our authentic and vulnerable selves. These stories also remind us that we can, in fact, get through our current tragedy. When things go wrong, it\u2019s best to take a deep breath and remember you will get through your current situation alive. Cut yourself and those around you some slack and just relax. No matter what\u2019s going on, remind yourself that today (probably) won\u2019t kill you. And if today does kill you, well, you won\u2019t have to worry about work anymore. So there\u2019s that.\nLearn to exercise your funny bone\nMany moons ago, I decided to face my career-limiting fear of public speaking and signed myself up for a comedy class (I\u2019m a bit of a glutton for punishment, I suppose). The most surprising thing I learned was that everyone can be funny. You just have to understand your personal style of humor. (Pro tip: Think back to when you have made people laugh and do more of that.) This revelation was shocking to me. I thought people were either born funny or, like me, doomed to live their lives as less funny-haha, more funny-sad. It was liberating to learn humor is something you can become better at over time. The more you listen to, read about, and practice comedy, the funnier you become. In fact, just the other day someone at work told me that I was \u201creally funny.\u201d\u00a0 I nearly died. In more than, let\u2019s say, a few decades working, no one has told me that. I am becoming funnier with age, meaning you are not a hopeless case either. There is a funnier version of you inside \u2013 it\u2019s just a matter of letting it out.\nSince that comedy class, I\u2019ve gone on to take a number of improv classes. Your primary job there is to make those around you look good and open yourself up to a world of funny situations. To that end, one of the first things you learn is to say, \u201cYes, and\u2026\u201d when someone tells you something. For example, if someone were to say \u201cWe\u2019re astronauts eating grilled cheese sandwiches,\u201d in a scene, you\u2019d quash everything by responding with \u201cNo. I don\u2019t like space. Or grilled cheese, really. I\u2019m lactose intolerant.\u201d It\u2019s much funnier to say \u201cYes!\u201d to the unlikely scenario, then add to it by describing the great difficulty involved in making a solid grilled cheese in zero gravity and a bulky space suit.\nThis same tenet holds true at work. If someone pitches a seemingly hair-brained idea or solution that you know for a fact will not work, don\u2019t say \u201cNo!\u201d right away. Pause. Ponder it. Explore how the idea could possibly work in some creative, off-the-wall way.\u00a0 You never know, it might be the very best solution to a tough problem. Just look at the Flowbee, Doggles, or that creepy severed foot people hang from their cars. These are all seemingly dumb ideas that made their creators millions.\nBe the Pied Piper of fun and failure\nAs a leader, you set the tone for your staff. The best thing you can do is create an environment where people feel it\u2019s safe to fail. You do this by not only praising staff for great work, but helping them feel less awful after a screw-up. I hear a lot of leaders say their organizations promote a culture of \u201cfailing fast\u201d (hello, buzzwords!), but when you ask their teams whether it\u2019s true, they say, \u201cSure. As long as you DON\u2019T EVER FAIL.\u201d Too often, we give lip service to allowing our teams to fail. This is in no way sufficient. If we don\u2019t fail, we aren\u2019t learning, and our organization will never improve. We as leaders have to become comfortable with failure \u2013 our own and that of those around us \u2013 and celebrate it.\nWhen things go wrong (and they will), the last thing you want is to have people cover it up because they fear your wrath. Instead, set the tone by sharing with your team that you\u2019re well aware mistakes happen \u2013 and that you can laugh at them (even if it takes a few decades). When mistakes happen, it\u2019s how you respond, learn, and move on that\u2019s important.\nFinal, silly thoughts\nThere\u2019s no shortage of great ideas out there for bringing more fun and creativity to your team \u2013 while simultaneously driving productivity. That\u2019s part of the reason the Agile philosophy has become so popular. There\u2019s an element of fun to it and it makes you more productive. It\u2019s truly the magic combination. If you\u2019re looking for ideas for fun activities and games to try out with your teams, check out this article: \u201cGetting Teams Unstuck: Using Games to Promote Creativity and Solve Problems.\u201d\nThis last point is probably the most important thing I\u2019ve said yet, so pay close attention: The anagrams for leader are Red Ale and Rad Eel. Be the Rad Eel for your organization, and your teams will happily slither-swim along with you to the ends of the ocean.