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By Tia Graham, Founder & Certified Chief Happiness Officer – Arrive At Happy

Over 65% of the United States workforce is led by unhappy, disengaged leaders according to Gallup’s latest research. That’s a lot of unhappiness trickling down the corporate ladder. Managers have the greatest impact on employee engagement, morale, and happiness. Disengaged managers are essentially ‘checked out.’ They are putting in time, but not with energy or passion. By Gallup’s 2015 estimates, the “not engaged” group costs the United States $77 billion to $96 billion annually through their impact on those they manage. And when we factor in the impact of the “actively disengaged” group, those figures jump to $319 billion to $398 billion annually. Actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their happiness.

Over 40% of people around the globe are actively searching for a new position and reassessing what truly matters to them in their work and in their life. Physical work environments have forever changed, and the use of technology continues to increase and change at lightning speed. Working mothers have taken the brunt of the childcare responsibilities over the 20-months and are looking to re-enter the workforce in a way that supports their personal and family values.

The Happiness Imperative for leaders in 2022

It is a leader’s responsibility to prioritize their own happiness and well-being and create an environment where their teams are happy. In the same way that a leader is measured on how they can create and execute strategy, and drive results, they must be held accountable to be happy, positive, and optimistic. If a leader is not happy and creating a happy environment, they are holding their team members back from optimal growth and results. Leadership and employee happiness must be measured monthly at a minimum and this goal must be a part of their goals and reviews.

The science and psychology of happiness is directly connected to business growth and profits. Positive and happy sales professionals sell 30-40% more than their neutral or negative colleagues (Shawn Achor). Happiness is directly connected to creativity and innovation; the brain operates differently when feeling positive emotions. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson has proven this with her Broaden and Build theory. In a 2019 study done by Oxford University, MIT, and a UK Telecom company, the study proved that happy employees are 13%+ more productive. When executives and managers take care of their team members, their team members will make their customers extremely happy and create raving fans! Retention is also directly connected to happy and motivated employees and managers. Happy employees are healthier, and this saves the company expenses related to absenteeism and medical costs.

Eight Steps to be a Happy Leader

Step One—Start with You

Prioritize your happiness and well-being, find purpose in everyday life,
cherish your physical body and mental state, cultivate positive personal relationships, live with awe, and understand the importance of continuous personal development and improvement.

Step Two—Zoom Out

Everything in life is about perspective. Broaden your view, have conscious curiosity in your position and continuously raise the bar for yourself and your team.

Step Three—Execute Brilliantly

Clarify your key professional priorities and create strong boundaries to surpass your goals. Move forward with organization, speed, simple plans, and by learning from those who have already achieved what you are trying to do.

Step Four—Focus on Relationships over To-Do Lists

Prioritize really knowing your team and the stakeholders who affect both you and your team members. Foster your coaching skills and make each person feel valued, accepted, and appreciated.

Step Five—Your Number One Priority

Your team is your top priority, focus on your team and the results will follow. Practice active, whole-being listening and consistent and timely communication. Give consistent, authentic, positive, and constructive feedback, motivate your team through teaching, and create a positive work environment.

Step Six—Measure to Excel

Determine exactly what to lead measures to focus on to achieve your Wildly Important Goals. measure. Inspire every team member with clear goals, transparent communication, quick meetings, and empowerment.

Step Seven—Be the Spark

Bring positive and optimistic energy to your team every week, your energy affects your team members and their families. Utilize Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar’s SPIRE Model of Well-Being (spiritual, physical, intellectual, relational, and emotional) to design your life and take actions that give you magnetic energy.

Step Eight—Master Your Mindset:

Believe in yourself and know your true value to your team and organization. Remain calm when challenges arise, have a bias towards innovation, know how to prioritize, and truly enjoy your self-development.

When positive leadership becomes the norm, it will change our culture for the better, and the ripple effect on society will be astronomical. Happy leaders affect business results, they guarantee business growth. There is also an ethical responsibility. Leadership is a privilege and organizations must take the happiness of their leaders as seriously as they do, results.