Happiness: The Most Important Pre-condition for Powerful Leadership

August 6, 2019

Please take a moment and reflect on the following statements:

The best leaders are selfless servant leaders who put their organization’s (and other people’s) interests ahead of their own. They are ready to make personal sacrifices for greater good.

To what extent do you agree?

If you agree or strongly agree, you will be amongst the majority of people who share the same view.  However, research now shows proof of what I believe was always true – the happiest people make the best leaders, and conversely, unhappy people don’t make good leaders.  In fact, the best leaders put their own interest ahead of others and are happy as a result of doing so.  Sounds strange? Isn’t good leadership all about self-sacrifice and serving others? No, it is not. Here’s why.

When one sacrifices, one is left with a feeling of loss. “I gave up my career to be a stay-at-home mom or dad for my children,” or “I sacrificed precious family time or more lucrative opportunities to serve the community,” are common statements we hear every now and then.  The problem here is the word sacrifice, which means giving up something that is very dear to us.  Whether we realize it or not, at some level this ‘giving up’ sows seeds of resentment within us.  In most such cases, because we’ve paid a heavy price by sacrificing, we feel entitled to have big expectations from the people we sacrifice for.  When these expectations are not met, we feel deprived and cheated.

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