Do Business Leaders Have to be Happy People to Excel in Their Job?
It is a tall order in itself to pinpoint what happiness or good leadership are, to say nothing of trying to convincingly connect the two. To make matters
worse, it is not just a question of definitions that everyone agrees about, but also research methods that make it possible to test who is happy and who
is not, who is a good leader and who is not. There is severe disagreement at the level of measurement tools, leading to grossly divergent results and
rankings that contradict each other. The predicament seems to be more pronounced for happiness, a completely elusive idea that borders on the
spiritual and tends to be defined in a highly personal manner, which makes it practically infinitely variable. Leadership has been more carefully charted
and narrowed down as a business concept through decades of scholarship, but there is still plenty of room for negotiation about what exactly makes a
Despite these methodological difficulties, the question of how happiness influences leadership somehow demands to be tackled. In fact, leadership
literature is permeated with the rhetoric rich in references to strong feelings of personal fulfilment, reaching professional and emotional heights or
impassioning others to do better or pursue ambitious visions. By doing so, authors actually imply there is a strong connection between being a
successful leader and nurturing some kind of positive life energy inside. In the end, how is it possible to take on the job of inspiring others with passion
and conviction without personally having sufficient amounts of either of them in the first place? It boils down, essentially, to such basic issues as
authenticity or consistency as failing to practice what you preach gradually undermines your claims.
But there is more to the happiness-leadership connection than just validating the message from the top. History may be full of examples of how control
and influence have been exerted through fear, manipulatio