Coming soon: Leading with Happiness, the latest book by Alexander Kjerulf, author of Happy Hour is 9 to 5.
I believe we’re seeing a new kind of leadership emerging.
It’s been a truism that leadership is about maximizing business results, whatever it takes. As the economist Milton Friedman depressingly put it:
The business of business is business.
He argued that a CEO who spent resources on anything that did not enhance shareholder value was failing his duties and could be fired or sued. This kind of thinking is still incredibly prevalent in the business world and it leads to attitudes and actions that are incredibly damaging.
And that is why I think we need a new kind of leader – one that is motivated primarily by doing good. Or, in other words, by increasing happiness. And I do see a lot of these leaders. They are not perfect people but they have a clear vision of what they want in the world and rather than just maximizing shareholder value, they want to create more happiness in 4 domains:
- For themselves
- For their employees
- For their customers
- For the world
These leaders create organizations that are a force for good in the world. They lead in a way that is sustainable – not just environmentally but also economically and psychologically.
Their employees’ lives are better and happier for working there. Customers’ lives are improved by the company’s services or products. And the world is in some way a better place because this company exists. And don’t ignore the first one: These leaders are happy themselves, because they know that their leadership is making things better, not worse.
UPDATE: The first draft of the book is done. It weighs in at 45,000 words. Here are the chapter headings:
- Why Happiness?
- The science of happiness
- What is happy leadership (and what is it not)
- Happy leaders start with themselves
- Make your employees happy
- Make your customers happy
- Make the world happy
- Leading with happiness in tough times
- The challenges of leading with happiness
- Go forth and be happy