Blog - THE POSITIVE LEADER: Fuelling success and happiness in a world of disruptive change

THE POSITIVE LEADER: Fuelling success and happiness in a world of disruptive change

An inspirational leader can rouse confidence in times of ambiguity like these, and instill a sense of optimism for the future that might otherwise be missing. But with political leaders dropping like flies and other individuals clamoring to take their place, a number of key questions are brought to the fore. What makes for successful leadership under challenging circumstances? How can we identify a strong, visionary leader? And to what extent does great leadership inspire engagement and success in others over the long term?

These questions are becoming more significant than ever in a perpetually-changing world, and not just in politics. We’re all operating amidst a backdrop of supersonic developments in technology that are bringing dynamic innovations to every aspect of our lives and business. As corporations race to meet new demands and opportunities for growth, time-starved CEOS and managers face all manner of complications. Not least is dealing with an employee engagement crisis in which a staggering 87% of the worldwide population is not engaged at work [1]. Through my time spent coaching clients and revisiting my own personal leadership experiences at Microsoft, I’ve uncovered four key ways that leaders frequently go off beam, both in how they manage themselves and manage their teams:

Where leaders go wrong

  1. They target weaknesses, not strengths. Misguided leaders waste vital time, money and energy grappling with faults and failures rather than recognizing and leveraging people’s natural talents. The result? Disengaged and dissatisfied teams.
  2. They fail to ‘have a dream’. A leader lacking a clear, inspirational purpose or vision will have a tough time rallying people in a unified direction. Accomplished employees don’t just want any old job; they want meaning and the chance to contribute to something bigger than themselves.
  3. They manage time, not energy. Facing non-stop demands in the workplace, leaders cram their diaries to the brim believing that they’re skilfully maximising their time. Instead, they’re recklessly abusing their energy, diluting their focus and heading straight for a burnout.
  4. They put success before happiness. When leaders set their sights only on the material trappings and tangible accomplishments of life, such as money or metrics, they ignore the deeper connections and meaningful activities that produce long-lasting success and happiness.

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Jan Mühlfeit