Are Good Leaders Happy?

January 29, 2013 — 1 Comment

I was out for a run for the first time in months. A “runners” injury to my right foot has been slow in healing. It was great to be off the exercise bike and back outside! While I was out, another runner passed by me in the other direction and greeted me with a cheery “Hey, keep going!” and a big smile.  It was a lifting moment and brought a smile to my face. The next runner passed by within inches of me. I offered a cheerful “Hey!” and he never looked up.  The difference was staggering. That moment was a fresh reminder of how much I appreciate people with a positive and cheerful spirit. They bring life! Others steal life. Both options can take place in a moment.

Friday is my day off, so after my run, I took off for a couple errands and experienced the contrast again. I went to a store called Teavana. Hey, guys drink tea! I walked in and another customer immediately smiled and said “Hi!” and asked me what kind of teas I like. We had a blast just having fun making small talk and laughing about “guys who drink tea.” She was there buying some really good green and herbal teas for her boyfriend who loves tea but won’t admit it in public!  I left Teavana feeling like I’d met a new friend.

At the door of Teavana, they have sample teas. I turned back to get a quick taste of a new one. I reached for the little paper cup and the person standing next to me glared at me, clearly communicating, “Back off, I was here first!” I just left without the tea.

On my way home I was thinking about the people I met that day. I had this simple thought. I’m drawn toward happy people!  It was a heart level, spontaneous and emotion-based response to the people I encountered that day. It also reminded me that people respond to leaders in the same way. Simple. Feeling-Based. Spontaneous. They like you or they don’t and it’s based largely on whether or not you are perceived as a happy, positive, upbeat person. So how would you assess yourself? How do you think others see you? It makes a big difference on whether or not they will follow your leadership.


  • Michael Wright

    They say Misery loves company, but I believe that only applies to non-leaders! Great reminder to smile and approachable TODAY. I went for a walk this morning (dark thirty) and as the folks were driving past me, i smiled and waved even though I couldn’t see them. Didn’t matter – it may have brought a smile to someone. Great post.