10 Things Happy Leaders Do Differently

You may know a leader or two or ten who lead well but wouldn’t be the person you’d choose to hang around. You know who I’m talking about? You probably even have a picture in your head of these unhappy leaders.

I know you don’t want to be unhappy as a leader. You know there’s a better way. And there is.

What makes a leader happy?

Image by Glenn Waters

Examining happy leaders, I’ve come to the conclusion leaders who are happy do things differently. They make different choices. They lead different lives.

Let’s see what happy leaders do differently.

Exercise: Happy leaders know they need to take care of their bodies so they have the stamina to make it through the demands of leadership. The more active you are, the better the chance you’ll be happy.

Care: Happy leaders care for their team. They know they wouldn’t be in the leadership position they’re in if it wasn’t for the people they’re leading.

Relax: Happy leaders know they need to take a break here and there. Whether it’s a vacation in Tahiti or an extended weekend, relaxation helps make leaders happy.

Share: Happy leaders know they can’t keep everything to themselves. Being willing to be open and share what’s going on within the organization and with themselves alleviates the stress and pressure a leader may feel.

Eat: Happy leaders know they need to eat. But it’s not just the eating that’s helpful to making a leader happy. It’s who they’re eating with. Eating can be a catalyst in getting to know others.

Teach: Happy leaders are also teachers. They love to see others learn and grow. If they’re a part of that growth, all the better!

Help: Happy leaders are always looking for the next person they can help. Is it Tim in shipping who’s struggling to get through school? Or is it John on the product launch team who needs a helping hand to move up the ladder? Happy leaders know to look for someone to help.

Quiet: Happy leaders realize quiet times are a godsend. They are able to break away and find a little time to themselves to recharge and think on what they’re learning. By turning off your cell phone notifications, email alerts, or alarm clocks you can get away from it all.

Pass: Happy leaders are willing to pass on ideas that don’t align with their vision. Leaders come across many great ideas but not everything is a good fit. Knowing when to pass on an idea can bring much happiness to your life.

Laugh: Happy leaders are fond of laughing. What else signifies that you’re happy and vibrant better than a laugh? I don’t know if I can think of anything else that does it better. So, go out and have a laugh today.

Question: What are you doing that makes you a happy leader? Please share what you do differently in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Great post! I liked the fact that you included exercise. We often forget that leadership requires a healthy mind and a healthy body. Exercise is critical to helping us maintain the energy required to be a healthy leader. Thanks for sharing.

    • I was thinking something similar, which only proves sespring’s leadership & wisdom.

      Exercise is something that is often sacrificed when the demands of leadership pound on our calendars, simply because it’s easy to discard it as not being part of whatever it is we’re leading. I like how Joe makes leadership about the person leading not the tasks being led, thus a sound and healthy body is about whatever it is we’re leading because it’s about us.

      • Thanks for your confidence in both my leadership and my wisdom Dan!

        • Well your wisdom is obvious since I was thinking the same as you 🙂

    • So true, we are called to be stewards of both our mind, spirit, and body!

    • My pleasure Steve. Our minds can’t work effectively if we’re not taking care of the physical as well.

  • I would add keeping life in the proper perspective. When days are hard or something goes wrong, it really is not the end of the world.

    • Perfect Jon! We can’t let the little things (and even the big things) bother us!

  • Great thoughts here Joe. How have you tried to incorporate these behaviors into your leadership? Would love to learn more about what you’re doing on a more daily basis.

    • Here’s an example for caring Paul:

      The students in our youth group come from a very diverse background. Some of them not so pretty. By taking the time to show them that we cared for them, we began to see them make life changing decisions.

      • That’s awesome Joe! Thanks for sharing that.

  • I just am honest with other people. I try not to be so fake to impress people. I am myself and I speak my mind freely. I think as a Leader you should be able to be authentic around anyone. Thanks for sharing this Joe.

  • Right now for me it’s running! It falls under #1 and I can vouch for the energy and motivation it provides.

    • I know you’re passionate about running! We see it all the time on Facebook. Glad to know it’s helping you gain energy and motivation.

      • It’s been a life-saver brother. I post those runs to make you jealous! (JK) 🙂 I know you could smoke me!

  • Joe – it is important to see that great leaders take care of themselves, as much as their followers. To be our best, we need to self lead, set an example, then give out in return. A very balanced list!

    Which one is your favorite?

    • That’s a hard one Jon. They’re all so good. Though, if I had to pick one, I think it would have to be eating with others. There’s something about sharing meals and ideas with other people.

      • Indeed! LOL, I love doing “business” while sharing a meal. It tends to also relax folks more and allow them to be professionally-themselves. It is the best mix I think.

    • Perfect.

  • Great points Joe! I found taking a day a week to rest, relax, and spend time with family is so crucial when it comes to my well-being.

  • Pingback: 10 Things Happy Leaders Do Differently | Leader...()

  • Pingback: 10 Things Happy Leaders Do Differently | HR Kno...()

  • Good suggestions here Joe, I agree with the others that at least you mention keepijng fit & also relaxing. Well done very good advice.

  • Let’s Grow Leaders

    Lead from who they really are.

    • I love this one. If we are not Leading from who we truly are, whether it is because we are hiding something or we really don’t know; we aren’t going to be happy.

    • That’s a good one! How do you think a leader leads from who they are?

  • Pingback: 10 Things Happy Leaders Do Differently - Joseph...()

  • This is so true!
    Ah, Joe, Do you see what every single one of these “things” leaders to be happy have in common? They are ALL self-care.
    THIS is exactly one of the biggest lesson I am forced to drill into our Trainees brains. (Testosterone, ya know- always able to do and handle absolutely anything, anytime.) ~ My lesson to them is always the same. Lives are our responsibility and what we do is dangerous to those who are inexperienced as well as the most experienced of all. If you do not take care of yourself, you will NOT be able to take care of others. Oh sure, you will. Just often enough to get someone or yourself killed. Harsh, but true. It is one of the first things we are all taught in first aid- is it not? To be sure YOU are not in danger before running to help/rescue another person, right? Same deal.
    If you allow yourself to become sick, exhausted, hurt- and don’t deal- what happens if something happens (and we know it always happens when you least expect it)- and you can’t help?
    During our high season we work HARD, all of us. We are working in the rain, snow and winds. We MUST have the proper gear to keep us warm and dry and be prepared to stop everything, build a fire and get warm and dry. Hypothermia is deadly and it strikes even the strongest- and it strikes quickly both the mind and body. Exhaustion makes cranky guides and what fun is that? Sickness can strike there too. Sloppy work, simple mistakes come from exhaustion- attention slips and mistakes are made from that as well. Injuries are common- whether it is a simple scrape to a bloody mess from a knife or axe slipping. Staff infections are also deadly.
    Leadership and Professional Guiding are so similar it constantly thrills me that I have found so many great places to improve my own leadership, both in the field and at the round-table. Thank you for another great post, Joe.

    • Great observation Amber-Lee. These do all boil back down to self-care. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • Pingback: 5 for Leadership (7/12/14) | Gary Runn5 for Leadership (7/12/14) - Gary Runn()

  • Pingback: Top Posts And Commenters For July 2014 - Joseph Lalonde()

  • Pingback: 10 Things Happy Leaders Do Differently | ISDI Learning Corner()

  • Pingback: luottoa()