In spite of recent trends in leadership research towards more discourse oriented approaches, the intricate relationship between leadership and discourse remains surprisingly under-researched. Drawing on authentic discourse data the author focuses on humour – a particularly versatile discursive strategy. She illustrates that an analysis of leadership discourse may offer interesting new insights into the complexities of leadership performance. Far from being a superfluous discursive strategy employed to distract from the transactional aspects of workplace talk, humour performs a range of important functions in a workplace context. And due to its versatile nature it is particularly suitable to express and respond to the complexities of leadership performance. An in-depth analysis of the ways in which leaders use humour in their everyday workplace interactions demonstrates how the discursive performance of leadership is influenced by the leaders' immediate working group., the culture of their workplace, and stereotypical expectations of how women and men should behave in the workplace.