25 Surprising Traits That Make Up a Happy and Effective Leader

I’ve been lucky enough to meet some truly inspirational people – from serial entrepreneurs to religious leaders. What gives them their mojo isn’t as obvious as you may think.

From a young age we’re told that if we work hard, get a good education, harness our talents and fight our way to the top, success will come our way and we’ll all live happily ever after.

But this ignores evidence to the contrary.

Often we see that the happiest people aren’t the richest, the most successful people haven’t followed the conventional path and the best leaders don’t shout the loudest.

And too many only realise they’ve climbed the wrong ladder when it’s too late.

Just because we’re good at something, it doesn’t mean we enjoy it.

So much for conforming.

In fact, trying to conform to the norms of society and what’s expected of us is something that comes back to haunt us when the chips are down. One of the top regrets of the dying is:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”

Through getting to know some inspirational people over the last few years I see some common behaviours in those that have found a balance between personal happiness and success at work.

  1. They are generous with their time
  2. They work on something they care about deeply
  3. They don’t compete, they collaborate
  4. They are learning machines
  5. They design their life to work for them and their needs
  6. They don’t talk about doing something, they just do it
  7. They take time out to look after themselves
  8. They don’t accept things the way they are
  9. They have a real sense of urgency
  10. They’re comfortable saying no
  11. They’ve eliminated the gap between who they are and what they do
  12. They believe anything is possible with the right application
  13. They don’t look to blame other people
  14. They don’t waste time with naysayers
  15. They don’t take failure personally
  16. They have a positive outlook, looking forward not back
  17. They don’t worry about what other people think
  18. They don’t wait for opportunity, they engineer serendipity
  19. They find people they trust then get out of the way
  20. They’re happy for others to take the credit
  21. They aren’t consumed by the news
  22. They surround themselves with people that inspire them
  23. They are happy to ask for help when they need it
  24. They place more value on relationships & experiences than material goods
  25. And ironically, they don’t chase happiness… or success

At The Happy Startup School we’re helping a new breed of entrepreneur to realise their dreams, one startup at a time.