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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.

  1. Look at people with approval. If you can’t approve of something about the person in front of you, YOU are the problem.
  2. 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.
  3. Laugh. If you never laugh, work is a funeral march.
  4. 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.)
  5. Notice strengths and effort.
  6. Honor small achievements. The difference between achievement and accomplishment is time. Achievement happens in the short-term. Accomplishment is a series of small achievements.
  7. 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?

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