Not only are you familiar with Dilbert as a member of the business world, but as a boss in the business world, you probably even think that Dilbert is sometimes funny. After all, these cartoons are not making fun of you, right? But then again, when you start to see Dilbert strips tacked up on your employees’ cubicle walls, it is easy to start second-guessing this self-assuredness. Sure, it seems silly to be concerned about the effect that these cartoons might have on morale, but you also probably start to think about the fact that you have, after all, read articles that talked about how Dilbert cartoons create a negative environment. And so you are forced to ask the question for yourself: Are Dilbert cartoons bad for the morale of your employees?
First off all, one must remember that humor and laughter is good for morale. Certainly, these cartoons are posted on people’s walls because they induced a laugh, so this is a sign in the right direction.
The issue, of course, is that many of these cartoons induce laughs by poking fun at corporate culture. And it is difficult to keep your own self out of the specifics of this discussion when you see a cartoon on an employee’s wall that makes fun of the boss. But the solution to the problem might be more complicated than just banning these comic strips. After all, it is unlikely that banning these strips would have any effect except to make employees think that you are out of touch with the way they feel.
Don’t just order that all comic strips be taken down from office walls; instead, you ought to take the time to look at these comic strips yourself. Many of these strips are funny because they poke fun at the way businesses are run; if your employees think that these strips are applicable enough to be tacked on their cubicle wall, the problem might not be with the strip itself. The problem might be with the way your company itself is run!
While some might think it is trivial to turn Dilbert into a topic of serious discussion, many businesses have, in fact, banned these cartoons from cubicle walls. Every boss wants to improve morale around the office, but instead of banning humor and hoping it will do anything but alienate employees, you should aim to improve employee morale by improving all the ways in which your business itself is run!