My daughter and her friends were giggling and having fun in the backseat of our car. They’re tweens and listening to them being kids and enjoying life is one of my life’s greatest joys.
As we cruised down the highway, my daughter shouted to the front of the car, “Dad, can you play the Silly Canned Yoda song?”
Silly Canned Yoda? I had no idea what song she wanted and judging by the looks on her friends’ faces, neither did they. My daughter proceeded to hum a few notes and then belted out (in earnest): “Like the Silly Canned Yoda.” The car erupted in laughter, as we all instantly realized she was referring to Macklemore’s “(Ceiling) Can’t Hold Us.”
I laughed. My wife laughed. My daughter’s friends laughed. But perhaps most significantly, my daughter laughed—at herself.
Exposing our belief in misheard lyrics can be an embarrassing experience, especially when we seem to be the only one who believed that was the actual lyric. How we respond to the revelation that we had subscribed to a false belief can be insightful.
Every successful team has an occasional Silly Canned Yoda—a lighthearted moment that reminds everyone that we’re all human and therefore vulnerable to missteps. We should never allow our egos to get too big to laugh at our missteps.
Successful teams have Silly Canned Yoda moments because their comprised of good teammates, and good teammates don’t take themselves too seriously. They work hard. They’re serious about the direction of their team and about being a good teammate, but they remain able to laugh at themselves.
A telltale sign of a toxic teammate is an inability to laugh at himself or herself.
The ability to laugh at oneself factors into healthy relationships. Research from a Cal-Berkeley study done a few years ago showed the ability to laugh at oneself to be distinct character trait, linked to having an upbeat personality and an eternally good mood—two attributes of good teammates.
Laughter is a powerful emotion, capable of bonding teams. Situations that illicit laughter offer an opportunity to experience shared emotion. We tend to remember positive emotions we experienced with our teammates with fondness.
Laughter is also an incredibly contagious emotion. While I, my wife, and my daughter’s friends laughed at my daughter’s mistaken song title, so did my mother-in-law. And my mother-in-law didn’t even know that song! She didn’t recognize my daughter’s mistake. She laughed at us laughing—a statement on the irresistibility of laughter.
The next time you experience a Silly Canned Yoda moment, be humble enough to laugh at yourself. The experience could be the bonding opportunity your team needs.
By the way, good luck getting “Silly Canned Yoda” out of your head. It’s hard to un-hear. Macklemore’s song will never be the same for you. If I gave you an earworm, my apologies. If I gave you a laugh, you’re welcome.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.