Amer Kaissi – Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Power of Humor in Leadership: Insights from an Award-Winning Professor


In this episode, Kate Davis interviews Amer Kaissi, a professor in healthcare administration and an executive coach. They discuss the importance of humor in leadership and how it can help build stronger connections with others. Amer shares his personal journey of embracing humor in his teaching and coaching, and how it has positively impacted his relationships with students and clients. He emphasizes the need for leaders to be authentic and true to themselves, while also being able to take their work seriously. Amir provides practical tips for incorporating humor into leadership and highlights the benefits it can bring to teams and organizations.

Key themes: humor in leadership, authenticity, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, soft skills, team collaboration

Key Takeaways 

  • Incorporating humor into leadership can make leaders more relatable and approachable. 
  • Humor can help create a more relaxed and open environment for learning and collaboration. 
  • Leaders should embrace their authentic selves and not be afraid to show their sense of humor. 

Notable Quotes:

  • “As long as you start with an appropriate joke, people feel like they’re part of the conversation. They’re more willing to learn and do what you want them to do.”

  • “Leaders in the past used to take themselves very seriously, but the new generation will not tolerate that leadership style. They want leaders who are authentic and relatable.”

  • “Know yourself first and then start by understanding the people that work with you. Emotional intelligence is key to effective leadership.”

Humor and Authenticity: The Key to Effective Leadership in the Modern Workplace


In a recent episode of “Humor in the C-Suite,” Kate Davis interviewed Amer Kaissi, an award-winning professor in healthcare administration and author of the book “Humbitious: The Power of Low Ego and High-Drive Leadership.” Amer shared his insights on the importance of humor in leadership and how it can positively impact teams and organizations. This article will delve into three key themes from the interview and explore their implications for leaders in various industries. 

The Power of Humor in Leadership 

Amer emphasized the importance of incorporating humor into leadership to create a more relaxed and open environment. He shared his personal journey of initially taking himself too seriously and how it affected his teaching and interactions with students. However, as he started integrating humor into his classroom, he noticed a positive shift in the dynamics. Students were more engaged and willing to learn, and he enjoyed his work more. Amer’s experience highlights the power of humor in leadership and its ability to make leaders more relatable and approachable. 

Authenticity and Emotional Intelligence 

Amer stressed the importance of authenticity in leadership and how humor can be a tool to showcase one’s true self. He mentioned that leaders who embrace their sense of humor are often seen as more authentic and trustworthy. This is particularly relevant in today’s workplace, where the younger generation values transparency and authenticity in their leaders. Additionally, Amer highlighted the role of emotional intelligence in understanding oneself and others. Leaders who possess emotional intelligence are better equipped to gauge when and how to use humor effectively, creating a positive and inclusive work environment. 

The Changing Landscape of Leadership 

Amer discussed how the expectations of leaders have evolved over time, particularly with the rise of the younger generation in the workforce. Traditional top-down leadership styles are no longer effective, as younger employees demand more authenticity and a collaborative approach. Leaders who can balance taking their work seriously while not taking themselves too seriously are more likely to succeed in this changing landscape. Humor can be a valuable tool for leaders to connect with their teams and foster a culture of trust and innovation. 


Incorporating humor into leadership can have a profound impact on teams and organizations. It creates a more relaxed and open environment, fosters authenticity, and enhances emotional intelligence. Leaders who embrace their sense of humor are more likely to be seen as relatable and approachable, which can lead to increased trust and collaboration. As the expectations of leaders continue to evolve, it is crucial for them to adapt and leverage humor as a powerful tool in their leadership toolkit. By doing so, leaders can create a positive and engaging work environment that drives success and growth. 


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