7 Ways to Be a Happy Leader Today
Life at an amusement park gets boring. A party every night turns to monotony. The pursuit of frivolous happiness inevitably evolves from delight to boredom to burden.
A busy life is not necessarily a full life.
How to be happy?
Meaning gives roots to the pursuit of happiness. So, what is meaning?
Meaning is, “… using your signature strengths in the service of something larger than you are.” Martin Seligman
Put simply, meaning includes contributing. Tom Rath says we should move beyond “You are what you do” to “You are how you help.” Life’s ultimate question is “How do you contribute?”
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
7 ways to be a happy leader:
Unhappy leaders have unhappy teams. You set the mood.
- Look at people with approval. If you can’t approve of something about the person in front of you, YOU are the problem.
- Smile. You may need to learn the skill of smiling because you’re so damn serious all the time. Practice smiling on your way to work. When the zoom meeting begins, look at the little windows and smile.
- Laugh. If you never laugh, work is a funeral march.
- Notice contributions. Everyone on your team is contributing. If they aren’t, fire them. People contribute more when you notice contributions. (Noticing is a core management skill.)
- Notice strengths and effort.
- Honor small achievements. The difference between achievement and accomplishment is time. Achievement happens in the short-term. Accomplishment is a series of small achievements.
- Connect. Be an encourager – have an encourager. I recently worked with a team that created encouragement partners. Would you rather go to war with a group of self-serving individuals or a group of connected people?
“You don’t become happy by pursuing happiness. You become happy by living a life that means something.” Harold S. Kushner
What happy leader has influenced you?
How might leaders elevate meaningful happiness on their teams?
Thanks Dan. Nice post. Frivolous Happy has a shelf life…which is only until that next inevitable UH-OH moment. Deeper focus on meaning does provide that additional layer of resilience when things don’t go as intended.
Each of your 7 items are great reminders. I spent large parts of the last year and a half being unhappy with the circumstances of life/work. If I take that step back from that and reflect, I lost a lot of happiness and some professional relationships were strained by ignoring the meaning of what I was doing. I can see that more clearly now although it is unfortunate it took this long.
Grateful for these words today.
Thanks Will. Powerful reflections. I suppose that learning through the dark days gives them some meaning. It is interesting how meaning and grit are connected.
Excellent post, Dan! Your seven ways to be a happy Leader will not only make you a successful Leader but will also make your Team an extremely successful and cohesive Team, and one that you will want to work with forever and enjoy all of your Team’s success!
Thanks Sam. Your comment got me thinking about the deeper value of happiness. Leaders might believe that thinking about happiness is a waste of time. But happiness is positive energy and everything we do requires energy.
Dan, great post! Thank you. I am an encourager in my group because I find it energizing – both for myself and teammates, regardless of level. I am interested in learning more about the “encouragement partners” that you mentioned. With the teams that I have in a couple of areas, I feel like that could be something very interesting and helpful for us.
If we can not be happy at what we do, then we need to rethink, what we do and why we do it. There is no greater gift in life than doing something that makes you happy as well as others. “Don’t worry, be happy”, just a little song someone wrote.
Appreciated this post with your emphasis on the value of choosing to be happy and to share celebrations and small achievement recognition with your teams. For too long the phrase “Smile. Be Happy” was treated as a trite response to challenging situations. Finding the bright lights, shining through dark times even when you feel like crumpling in a corner are the signatures of leaders who make a difference and who lead teams with courage and perseverance. Thank-you for an uplifting reminder. Positively, Pauline
I really appreciate that somebody brought this topic to notice and you explained it really well. The points mentioned by you are on point and would really help any leader today. I even got myself enrolled in the Online Leadership Development Training and they also gave me a better insight into leadership skills.
I loved your article.