Being successful doesn’t necessarily mean being happy. I meet more and more leaders, who are doing excellently well by their business metrics; their businesses are growing, they are well sought after in the market, and stakeholders seem happy. Still below the surface, there is a lurking feeling of being unfulfilled. They feel that something is missing in their life. The reasons could be many. Some of the causes/sources of unhappiness in otherwise successful leaders are:
- Fear of not maintaining the success and achievements. Stress of maintaining at the top gear
- Lonely at the top
- Fear of making mistake or displeasing someone important; office politics, rat race
- Fear of not doing a perfect job
- Frustration with colleagues and team, who, they feel, are not as good as them; slower speed of others
- Health of self and family
- Issues with relationships , friends and family, parents, spouse , children
- Business and economic pressures, competition
- What next?
- Spiritual needs – is this all in life?
- Unfulfilled hobbies and desires
The successful but unhappy leaders are likely to fall quickly and lose their success. In today’s ever changing environment, success is not something which is achieved once and retained forever. It has to be earned every day again and again.
Some of the main derailment risks for these leaders are:
- Inability to control their Impulse /Anger Management
- Poor stress and frustration management
- Lack of optimism
- Reality misjudgment
- Lack of emotional self awareness
Some HR professionals believe that if their business leaders are happy they will be content and they will have no drive to achieve higher grounds. They believe that happiness in the leaders will bring some kind of complacency in the system.
Contrary to this belief, happy leaders are more likely to be successful.
There are good reasons for this.
Happy leaders are optimistic and they have a realistic vision of what is possible. They can clearly draw the vision, and share with others.
Happiness brings resilience, which means that they don’t go into long depression due to failure. They learn from their mistakes and move on. They have strong belief in what they do, but they are flexible and can easily adapt to changes in the environment.
Happy leaders can manage their emotions well and understand others with empathy.
They have high self regards and self esteem but it doesn’t lead to arrogance. They are assertive but not aggressive.
There is no wonder that happy leaders have certain charisma and an aura of positivity around them.
Happiness is contagious and is easily noticeable by their body language. Happy people smile more. There is certain kind of magnetism and attraction around happy leaders. And people notice this general mood of happiness. If the general demeanor of a leader is happy, people feel more comfortable opening up to them. This is the biggest advantage they have in their inter-personal relationships. They radiate energy rather than sucking it.
Organisations should take note if their leaders are not happy and get them coached towards being happy and fulfilled because happy leaders drive long term and sustainable successful business.
Pankaj is an executive coach with over 29 years of experience working as leader in various large multinational organisations. Pankaj has widely travelled and has headed multi-locational and multi-cultural teams.
As an executive coach, Pankaj has worked with leadership teams of large services companies. Apart from personally coaching senior leaders, Pankaj has also coordinated internal coaching programmes.
Pankaj is an active social worker and volunteers with many NGOs working with under-privileged.
Pankaj is a PCC and also trained and certified on NLP, counselling, EQ, DiSC.