During the summers while I was in college, I used to manage a small ice cream stand in my hometown.
The owner was a little flaky, so I was left in charge most of the time, managing a group of teenagers at a business doing several thousands of dollars worth of business daily.
As much as I enjoyed myself all those years, the job was at times a grind. More importantly, I was in a leadership position, but I didn’t know how to lead with happiness.
I was in a leadership position, but I didn’t know how to lead
I would work anywhere between 40 and 60 hours per week, rarely having a full day off.
Between the long hours and the frustrating moments that come with working alongside teenagers who are often unreliable, I was not always in the best mood.
I was often tired and cranky, and unable to hide my unhappiness or frustration at times.
In retrospect, my bad moods had an impact on the productivity of myself and those around me, even though I know I worked as hard as I possibly could every time I stepped foot inside the store.
My bad moods had an impact on the productivity
I have few regrets about working there.
However, I just wish I knew then what I know now about leadership, specifically about the importance of being a happy leader.
Studies have shown that leaders who are viewed more favorably by their employees are often in good moods while at work.
A slew of other studies also show that being a nice boss who is fair and well liked can get more production out of their employees than bosses who are despised by their subordinates.
This makes me think that being a happy leader is the way to go in any business.
Leaders who are viewed more favorably by their employees are often in good moods
Looking back on my days at that ice cream stand, I recall that the days I was in a good mood (don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of those days as well) were days that I was able to get everyone around me to work hard, allowing everything in the store to run smoothly.
If only I had read studies on happy leaders back then, I would have realized the positive affect that a happy leader can have on a business, no matter the industry or the size of the business.
It’s not too late for others
So while it may be too late for me (unless I hit rock bottom and have to go back to managing that ice cream stand), it’s not too late for others who are seeking happiness in business in addition to commercial success.
Thus, I have compiled a list of 10 strategies on how to lead with happiness, which will hopefully help leaders of any business put their best foot forward and show their employees how happy they are to be leading them, which in turn, will lead to better work from their employees.
1. Think Positively
This almost goes without saying, but it’s so important that I’ll tell you anyway.
If you think positive thoughts and have an upbeat attitude, you will be happy, and more importantly, your employees will notice that you’re happy and it’ll rub off on them.
You also need to remain positive with regard to your work. Don’t let your work get you down, no matter the challenge or the setback.
While in front of your employees, always remain positive and let them know that you’re going to accomplish your goals.
If you give them a positive boost like this with a smile on your face, they’ll know that you’re happy and relaxed, and they’ll be more likely to trust you as a leader.
2. Build Relationships
Only a happy leader is going to take the time to build relationships with his or her subordinates.
This isn’t something that can’t be done overnight; you’ll have to make a commitment and put forth the effort.
However, if you’re able to build relationships based on mutual respect it’ll show your employees that you care about them.
If you genuinely care about your employees it means you’ll be surrounded by people you care about every day, which will make you happy.
The same will be true for your subordinates, helping you create a wonderful work environment.
3. Stay Healthy
This may look a little out of place, but trust me, it’s not.
If you want to be a happy leader, you need to take care of yourself and your health. If you don’t feel well, you’re not going to be happy, and you may take that out on your employees.
If you’re tired and sluggish, you’re not going to be able to project happiness and positivity.
On the other hand, if you exercise and eat right, you’ll be healthy and feel energetic on a daily basis, which will make you feel happy and excited to lead those around you.
4. Take Time Away
Sometimes, to be a good leader, you have to get away.
For instance, if you feel like you’re in a bad mood, it may be best to hide from your employees so they don’t see you in such a state.
It’s perfectly fine to take some quiet time to yourself so that you can recharge your batteries.
If necessary, take a vacation if you feel the need to get away for a little while.
You’ll come back feeling rested and refreshed, not to mention happy and excited to get back to work, which will make you ready to be a good leader.
5. Share Information
One thing you can’t be afraid to do is let your employees know what is going on with you and the company by sharing pertinent information with them.
Sometimes just sharing something with somebody can take a load off your mind, helping you to feel more relaxed and at ease, which is on par with feeling happy.
Your employees will also feel better that you’ve trusted them with important information, helping you to build relationships with your subordinates, which as I mentioned earlier, is important to becoming a happy leader.
6. Be A Teacher
In addition to just sharing information with your employees, take time to be their teacher.
You’ll be surprised at how good it makes you feel to teach someone how to do something, instantly putting you in a better mood.
When I managed that ice cream stand, training new employees was one of my favorite activities.
It felt good to share my expertise and it was great to have relaxed one-on-one time with someone, and sometimes by the end I had made a new friend, which always made coming to work more enjoyable.
I guarantee that if you take the time to teach and help others, you’ll be a happier leader and a better leader.
This is another thing that seems obvious, but I’ll say it anyway.
Laughter is the key to happiness, so make sure as leader you’re able to laugh on a daily basis.
Obviously, there are times to be serious and work hard, but don’t be afraid to crack a joke every now and then to get you and your employees to start laughing.
Everyone will feel more relaxed and it’ll create a better work environment.
Maybe institute a weekly joke-telling contest for your employees; it’ll keep you and everyone else laughing and happy.
8. Stay Organized
Few things can be more frustrating or upsetting than having your life in chaos, and so one way to remain happy and content is to keep yourself organized.
This means your desk, your office, and your schedule should all be organized.
It’s difficult to be in a good mood when there’s chaos around you, so maintain your happy demeanor by keeping yourself organized.
9. Don’t Procrastinate
Going hand-in-hand with staying organized is not procrastinating.
If there’s a task on your schedule that’s difficult or something you don’t want to do, the longer you put it off, the more you’ll dread it and the more it’ll put you in a bad mood.
For stuff like this, always get it out of the way as soon as possible. I assure you that it’s not going to be as bad as you think, and getting it over and done with will help put you in the right mood and the right frame of mind to be a good leader.
10. Fake It Until You Make It
I just want to make clear that this is not an ideal solution to being a happy leader, but I’ll admit sometimes it is necessary to fake it until you make it.
As a last resort, even on your worst day, put on a happy face and try to project the feeling of happiness, even if it’s not genuine.
As all those studies I mentioned earlier suggest, happy leaders are better leaders, and so the least you can do is act like you’re a happy leader to help get the best out of your employees.
What You learned About How To Lead with Happiness
So, after all this, let me ask you, how do you find happiness in business?
For me, building relationships with your employees is critical. You don’t have to be best friends with all of them, but being able to build a relationship with them will help you feel comfortable and happy around them.
You’ll be more willing to share with them and teach them, making everyone smarter and happier, while helping to create a better work environment.
Of course, you’re free to pick and choose your own methods for how to lead with happiness.
One thing I guarantee will make you a happy leader is having CakeHR handle all of your HR business. It’ll give you less to worry about and more time to be a happy and productive leader!
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Bryan Zarpentine is a freelance writer and editor with credentials all over the Internet, primarily at CakeHR, where he is a regular contributor. He is interested in researching and writing about a diverse array of topics and providing a unique perspective on the world.
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