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Deliberate acts of leadership to raise organisational happiness and outcomes.

Happiness Sign for blog about Deliberate acts of leadership to raise organisational happiness and outcomes.

Let me begin by stating the obvious: we are not machines. Nor are we robots.

As humans, we are complex and multi-dimensional in our neurology, psychology, spirituality, and physicality, to name a few.

As organisational leaders, leading a group of people is (I believe), one of the most complex parts of your role.

The thing is however, we can sometimes lose focus on the people over the product or outcomes. When deadlines are looming, work is piling-up and the pressure is on, it can be more about the grind, than any purpose or meaning. 

The question to ask yourself however, is “How often are your people in this mode? Is the ‘grind’ your normal?”

Research on workplace wellbeing clearly links happiness with raised levels of performance, collegiality, collaboration, and innovation.


In a massive study published in the Psychology Bulletin, leading psychologist in the field of positive emotion, Sonja Lyubomirsky, at the University of California, along with colleagues, reviewed the results of over 200 separate studies involving 275,000 people from around the world. The research found that positive emotions lead to success, not only in our personal lives, but also in business. Happy people spend twice as much time thinking about what they’ve accomplished, how achievable the task ahead is, and how capable they are of achieving it. The persistent frustration of not loving what you do makes you a difficult character to be around and has been clinically proven to damage your health. Positive emotions impact employee engagement, job satisfaction and performance, customer satisfaction, innovation, absenteeism, and turnover.¹

It is the ultimate luxury to combine

Passion and contribution.

It’s also a very clear path to happiness.

-Sheryl Sandberg.

There are also different types of happiness. In psychology, there are two popular conceptions of happiness: hedonic and eudaimonic. Hedonic happiness is achieved through experiences of pleasure and enjoyment, such as a shared morning tea, appreciation or positive feedback, or even clearing your desk! Eudaimonic happiness is achieved through experiences of meaning and purpose (our why) eg: when you understand how what you are doing contributes to the big picture, or you are connected-with, and living-out your values. Both kinds of happiness contribute to overall well-being in different ways. They also contribute to organisational culture and wellbeing, and ultimately outcomes.

As leaders, it is important to be purposeful in the development of wellbeing in your organisations. Your deliberate acts of leadership will set the tone and pathway for this development.

One voice can change a room.

-Barack Obama

This requires leadership that moves from controlling employees to encouraging collaboration, and from top-down leadership to inspired conversations and shared goals. Moving customer focus, team development, employee engagement and Emotional Intelligence to centre-stage, and as a result, building thriving, happy organisations.

So what are some small steps you can take towards creating a happiness capital within your organisation?

Step one: Grow your own emotional capital. Check your own leadership motivations and emotional intelligence capabilities and determine whether there is alignment between your espoused and practiced leadership.

Step two: Seek first to understand. Value asking a question over telling. Find out what makes people tick, their values, aspirations and support them to achieve these through a series of mini goals. 

Step three: Move from a mode of seeking ‘buy-in’ to a mindset of engagement and collaboration. Utilising methodologies such as human-centered design ensures a structured approach to the complexities of gaining multiple perspectives.

Step four: Use a blended approach: hedonist and eudaimonic to create opportunities for people to experience happiness and a sense of achievement at work.

Step five: Join the dots… connect people with the “Why”, not just at a head level, but at a heart and gut level where they not only believe in it, but are being it.

¹ Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., and Diener, E. (2005), ‘The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does Happiness lead to success?’ Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855.

Image Credit: Happiness by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

Have you wondered why emotional intelligence is so important for leaders to develop?

It can be tough as a leader. Not only are you managing your team’s work, you’re also building relationships, managing difficult emotions and having those tricky conversations with them. Getting through these areas of leadership can be learned skills, but where do you start?

As a leader myself, and having worked with many others, I’ve noticed that having a strong foundation in EI allows us leaders to move through these tough areas of leadership with more empathy and compassion towards ourselves and our team.

So, if you’re ready to create deliberate acts of self-leadership to develop your emotional intelligence (that will then reflect in your work), then I would like to invite you to join me in my upcoming Emotionally Intelligent Leadership Seminar Series starting 5 Feb 2021.


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