We typically think of leadership as one of the most important skills in the professional world. Can the skills that employers want be connected to what everyone seems to be looking for, namely happiness?
In short, the answer is yes, but it feels hard to believe that being happy can help your career. Why do we believe this? We often don’t get what happiness really is. So…let’s start there.
What Is Happiness?
Positive psychology is the scientific study of happiness and is researched by Nicole Celestine from the University of Western Australia.
It’s the measure of positive emotions such as pleasure, gratitude, inspiration, and hope. The field focuses on what brings about these positive emotions in order to help study human wellbeing.
We know that many of us gauge our well-being by income. Additionally, we value how we spend our time and the quality of our relationships. So it makes sense that these are also qualities that would impact our happiness.
Our day-to-day lives impact what makes us happy the most. However, how can this impact our ability to be great leaders?
Happiness and Capability to Lead
Happier people are often able to be more accomplished at work.
If you are happy, you are more likely to be able to be compassionate towards your coworkers and even be able to show them respect in more subtle ways. You can serve your team better if you know what their needs are.
In turn, you also can feel better personally by having these deeper-formed connections.
We strongly connect our relationships to our happiness. It’s surprising how easy it is to start becoming passive-aggressive towards other people when we aren’t thinking past ourselves. As a result, by trying to build closer and more positive relationships with our teammates, we can tend to become better leaders.
One way in which to be more compassionate is to be both open and curious towards others.
Being open ourselves encourages others to dive deeper into who we are as people. Curiosity allows you to get to know others in the same way. By being open while curious about others, there’s reciprocity that not only helps you but trains them up at the same time.
Getting to know our coworkers in this way helps us lead them better and know how to be happier with them. People deeply desire the experience of being known by others. Knowing each other makes us feel more loved and teaches us how to care for and respect one another more accurately.
Practical Steps for Improving Leadership through Happiness
- Give yourself a routine that you enjoy doing.
- If our everyday activities help us determine if we are happy, shouldn’t we ensure that we set up the way we work in a way that is enjoyable?
- Making a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, or sitting down to the computer after a brisk morning jog may be small ways in which we can come to our teams in a better mood.
- Being in a better mood ourselves can in turn help us better lead the people around us.
- Give the respect you hope to receive.
- Being respected in the workplace is one of the greatest ways to enjoy your workplace.
- We all have weeks where life is all about the grind. However, we crave respect. We want others to know us as capable and productive.
- Respect can make or break an employee staying at a company during more emotional seasons in the workplace.
- Go outside. This advice shows up all over LinkedIn. However, we’ll restate it here.
- The new trend in leadership posts is telling people to go outside and clear their minds.
- We are so focused on constantly learning something new, listening to the next podcast, or reading the next book. But by taking some time to meditate or walk and get a clear head, we can better focus on the task at hand when we do start working.
- There are also positive benefits to going outside for our physical health. Vitamin D deficiency is super common, especially in the winter months.
- So go breathe in some fresh air. Bask in the sun a bit. You’ll be doing yourself and your team a solid.
Where All This Is Leading
Happiness is a great leadership quality because, if you lead by example, your colleagues will learn from you how to be happier themselves.
If you take off work regularly to spend time with your family and do things you enjoy, those you manage are more likely to do the same.
So go on the hikes. Take the road trip with your family, or set sail on a cruise. If you have the power to, increase vacation days at work. Find ways to be adventurous on your own terms.
Happiness in your workplace and in your life will make you a better leader. That’s the connection, and so if you seek out happiness for the sake of others and not yourself, you’ll become the greatest type of leader.