Becky Falkingham: A happy leader is a good leader: how happy are you?

To be an effective and well respected leader it follows that you need to be happy in your work. But how can you measure such an ethereal quality like happiness? “Ask yourself whether you are happy,” wrote the English philosopher John Stuart Mill, “and you cease to be so.” Maybe that’s the answer; if you have to question whether you’re happy in the first place then the answer is probably obvious.

Energy drives happiness

Another, more physically obvious measure of happiness is your energy levels. If you stride into the office at the beginning of the day or into the next meeting with real energy then that’s a pretty good indicator of happiness.

Personal energy both feeds and is generated from what I see as the six core elements that make for a happy leader:

1. Being authentic

How far can you really be yourself when you’re at work? Being honest and true to yourself is a crucial part of being happy.

2. Being resilient

Your wellbeing and self confidence relies on physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. If these are at the right levels you will be resilient enough to cope and manage with the demands of your role. Many of my clients are fighting an inner interference that gets in the way of their performance. If you can remove all mental interferences it allows you to have a relaxed, focused mindset that allows you to be in ‘flow’ or ‘in the zone’ – a mental state that allows focused energy.

3. Good relationships

How good are your relationships with key people around the business. Are they honest, balanced and deep? Do you feel heard?

4. Making an impact

Do you feel you make a difference and get results?

5. Creating momentum

We all need to feel like we’re making progress – do you feel like you’re getting on in your career?

6. Knowing your purpose

The last of these six elements is probably the most important. Do you have a clear purpose for yourself? Many often spend time creating mission and vision statements for their business but forget about taking time to create their own personal purpose. Why are you at work? Do your values fit with your organisation’s values? If your purpose conflicts with your organisation’s purpose, it will be hard to be happy at work.

It also follows that you need a good level of self awareness to enable you to understand all these elements of happiness which are dynamic and vary depending upon your organisation and its culture. You may be resilient in one environment and not in another for example or feel you have momentum in one or not another. Some organisations sap your energy because of their processes/cultures and others feed your energy; possibly because more of those happiness elements of the pie fit well with your values and your approach.

Ask yourself

All of these elements come back to the central question, ‘do you have energy at work?’ If the answer is no, then it’s likely you’ll be coming up short in at least one of these core elements meaning, in turn, happiness as a leader will be hard to achieve.