A blog about reputation, marketing and employee morale.

The Key to Great Leadership

Posted by Janet Smith on April 3, 2009

In my last blog post, I wrote about meeting the delightful Rick Foster, one of the authors of a must-read book, “How We Choose To Be Happy.” More than 10 years ago, Rick and co-author Greg Hicks interviewed 300-some chronically happy people and found that every one of them made the same nine choices in life…choices that led to lives to extreme happiness. Since then, Rick and Greg have continued studying and writing about extremely happy people (whom I’ll now refer to as EHP!).

You might be thinking, “Sure, I’d be extremely happy, too, if nothing bad ever happened to me.” But the book makes it abundantly clear that EHP have their share of sadness and misfortune in life, and in some cases, more than their share. The thing is, while really happy folks allow themselves to feel sad or angry or frustrated, or whatever, they don’t allow those feelings or the incidents themselves to define who they are or to control the rest of their lives.  They deal maturely with adversity. They rebound, grow from the experience, and make a choice to be happy again.

I mentioned last week that through their research, the authors also discovered that leaders who are considered (based on many measures) to be really great leaders make the same nine decisions in their lives that EHP make. Therefore,  extremely great leaders are extremely happy people.

This isn’t a great surprise, is it? Everyone has to deal with loss, tragedies, hardships, disappointments, health issues, relationship problems, and experiences with hurtful people.  And we’re all entitled to our reactions when life is difficult.  But leaders must be balanced, mature, professional and gracious regardless of the circumstances surrounding them at work or at home.  Leaders who lack resilience should get out of the way and let others do the leading. So if you want to be a great leader, make sure that you’re an extremely happy person. And if you’re not—learn how to become one. You won’t regret it.

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