Leadership & Happiness

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By Bill Auxier, Ph.D. You can subscribe to this weekly update by going to www.BillAuxier.com.

I run anywhere from 20 to 30 miles each week. Now some people might not call it running (I go kind of slow), but in my mind, I see an Olympic athlete sprinting in front of a stadium packed full of spectators going crazy and cheering me on as I cross the finish line, as I shuffle along.  I have different routes around our neighborhood and when traveling, it’s a great way to explore where I am.  You see the world from a different perspective which is one of my favorite things to do (besides fantasizing about my running ability).  Running provides a perfect outlet for reflective thinking too.  In fact, my soon to be released book, To Lead, Follow:  26.2 Miles to Greater Clarity and Effectiveness as a Leader, is all about reflective thinking while out for a run.

Sometimes I like to listen to music while I run; sometimes just the sounds surrounding me are music to my ears.  I’ve downloaded a bunch of songs on my iPhone that I like to listen to; particularly those on the playlist I created named “Billergy.”  One of my favorite songs of late has been Happy by Pharrell Williams.  The music, the lyrics, the beat, the tone, everything about that song makes me smile.  That song makes me happy!  I find it interesting that by simply listening to the song Happy, I immediately feel happy.  And of course, that makes me think about leadership.


Are happy leaders more effective leaders?  As you might guess, happiness alone does not determine leadership effectiveness, but research does support the idea that happy leaders can be more effective.

All of us are attracted to people with a sense of humor; business leaders, political leaders, a potential mate, etc.  The question I have is, why the attraction?  Research indicates that we view humorous people as quick thinkers with sharp minds.  We view wit as a sign of cognitive fitness.  We also equate humor with a positive outlook.  If you find yourself in a negative situation, a positive person is more likely to use humor to help others see things in a more positive light.

What if you don’t think you are very funny?  What can you do?  The biggest thing you can do is watch comedy, on television, in movies and in person.  Comic observers develop a comedic rhythm and can actually become funnier.  If that doesn’t work for you, simply subscribe to my newsletter.  If you don’t think this newsletter is funny, maybe a better idea would be reading Before Happiness:  The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change,  by best-selling author Shawn Achor.

Knock!  Knock!
Who’s there?
Lead who?
Anyone who will follow!

Bill Auxier writes about leadership every week.  To subscribe, go to www.BillAuxier.com

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