Leah Farmer

Personal perspectives on faith, literature, and life.

Lessons in Leaving: It all starts with a laugh

Note: As I’m leaving my role as VP of Merchant Product at Klarna, I wanted to jot down some lessons from my time at Klarna that are coming to me as I contemplate my 2+ years here. Enjoy!

Meetings. Meetings. Meetings.

This is my life. At this stage in my career I spend more time in meetings at work than probably anything else. Creative time is at a minimum. Writing time is done in fits and starts throughout my day. But meetings…those are constant.

Sometimes they are the one-on-ones I wrote about in an earlier blog. But most often the meetings I spend my time in include 3 or more other people. They are valuable and precious time with the team and for them it is often their one chance during the week to have my undivied attention on the topic of their choice.

Ok…so what??

So…as often as is humanly possible for you as a leader, start meetings with a laugh. Make a joke. Talk about something crazy you’ve seen. Banter with a close colleague. Take a shot at yourself. But for the love of GOD…make the team laugh.

Meetings are often highly charged because something “must be accomplished” and more often than not you as the leader are the person the team is trying to get information, approval, or insight from. So be that person…be available…be attentive. And also try to be the one who gives everyone a reason to relax a bit.

Laughter is one of the most important things I bring to my own day. In 2019, the joy I enjoyed with the team was often cracking jokes with my engineering partner Marcus or picking on myself about something at the outset of a meeting. As everyone’s shoulders move down away from their ears for a minute, the team settles in for a more serious conversation.

I do this with my teams. With peers. With candidates if I can. (I’d do it more with the leadership team if they were responsive…but alas, not so at Klarna.)

If we are going to do good work…
If we are going to spend this much time doing this work…
If we want to take the serious things seriously but also make room for risk and failure…
If we want to have fun and make fun for the humans we work with…

Bring laughter!

PS…Just in case you need more reasons to laugh, read these fun facts about laughter.

 

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