Lead with Happiness

February 10, 2015
Lead with Happiness

Have you ever had a colleague or leader who was great to work with? Someone who could share and support your ideas, network with everyone, and see challenges as opportunities for creative solutions?

These characteristics of a great team member (and leader) have little to do with intelligence or technical ability. Instead, they are reflections of a positive attitude.

I was browsing TED Talks and came upon this video from Shawn Achor, where he shares research indicating that happiness inspires productivity.

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Shawn provides excellent advice for developing happiness in your own life, but what can you do as a leader to encourage happiness within your team? Here are two ideas:

Celebrate Successes

Business, and especially sales, moves quickly. As soon as you achieve one goal you’re already behind your timetable for achieving the next one.

As a leader, you have the opportunity to hit pause for a moment and celebrate what you’ve achieved. Rather than moving on to the next item on the list, look back at what you’ve done. Recognize the people who have contributed, and reflect on what you’ve learned and developed.

Be Grateful

I loved Shawn’s ideas for gratitude. Take a few minutes each day to document three things you’re grateful for. Journal a positive experience at least once a day. Send an email every day praising or thanking someone.

Show gratitude to your team, and lead them to develop grateful behavior as well. One great idea is to ask each member of the team to acknowledge a colleague they’re grateful for during your weekly sales meetings.

“[It’s] the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.” – Shawn Achor

This is my favorite quote from the video. What are you doing to change the lens through which your brain views the world?



  • Will Voelkel - Reply

    It’s always interesting to see and read how research supports the what is obvious in practice: in this case, that while leaders need to create and communicate vision, be strategic thinkers, and model behaviors consistently, the “intangibles” (such as positive attitude, visible and ongoing support for their people, and authenticity) are just as – or more – important.

  • Elizabeth Frederick - Reply

    Thanks, Will! Great point. We like to see the research, but much of what works in management is basic common sense.

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