All we have to do is visit LinkedIn and see there is no shortage of articles and ideas on successful leadership. Servant leadership, lead from within, and pyramid leadership are just a few styles one might adopt. What I have found to work for me is a leadership style centered on happiness. Sounds a bit crazy I know but maybe after I share my story you might find it to be what we all need.
Negative is Choice
Early on in my life I was not too positive, or negative. I was just kinda going through life as a kid, reacting to everything. This changed in the 6th grade for me. My 6th grade math teacher was always smiling behind her large owl like 1970’s glasses, I mean always smiling! Prior to meeting her I was not known for my bright smile. My teacher helped me understand happiness was a choice and I gained a love for math and positivity thanks to her. With her I felt like I could solve any math problem with a smile and boy it made me smile when I solved a difficult problem. I wanted to be just like her and I would practice smiling every day.
The world and people around me really opened up, as I approached every day with a smile, people were nicer and solving problems became much easier.
Introducing Happiness as a Fabric of Our Life
Going through college the non-negativity factor took hold with me so much so that my immediate friend group right after college had a motto “no negativity, ever”. We Took this seriously and would remind one another of this if anyone went “negative” or even experienced challenging times.
Happiness as Leadership Takes Hold
Fast forward 10 years and one of the first things I did in the office when I started a Chicago IT company was write on our shared space white board "NO NEGATIVITY" and made our work place a negative-free zone.
This happiness theme entered into the very fabric of our company and our work family. Recently, in January I had the opportunity to read the “Happiness Advantage” which rekindled my embracing happiness as a leadership approach. "Happiness Advantage" is a great book by Shawn Anchor known for his positive psychology approach to life. Shawn's book shares the science of happiness, which for me translated into the no-negativity zone.
With this deeper foundation our company and Chicago team continues to take these scientifically proven techniques on happiness and bring them into our company culture. Happiness has transformed our organization, the lives of our employees, and the clients we serve.
Our team has shared many stories of how our view of the world, different than most, makes us see the best and in application makes us a more effective team. We have been tracking growth since the implementation of “The Happiness Advantage” techniques and we are hitting our financial goals as well as making our lives and the lives of the people who surround us outside of work better, happier, and I'll suggest much more rewarding than conventional thinking.
Leading Through Happiness
Leading through happiness has been one of the most fulfilling roles of my life. As a leader it is measurable and extremely rewarding but the truth is, it is an option any of us can choose. We all have the opportunity to lead daily through happiness putting into practice these principles. The cool part about this approach is we get to enjoy a life with a better view, some may say a much smoother ride through this thing we call life. Stay happy my friends.
Sally Martin is the Chicago Market Director for technology services firm, V-Soft Consulting. Sally joined V-Soft when the company she founded, Palace Gate Corporation, was acquired in 2016. Sally has over two decades of experience in helping clients transform their industries through innovative technology and amazing people.