Happy school for tomorrow’s leaders

According to a popular Harvard Business School course called Leadership and Happiness, you have to learn to be happy yourself to lead a happy, effective team. And a central belief of the course is that happiness isn’t about the luck of the draw. It’s very much a learned attribute.


Dr. Arthur Brooks, who teaches the course, argues in a recent Wall Street Journal article, that happiness is a product of regularly nurturing four key areas of life – family, friends, meaningful work, and faith or life philosophy. He says that being happy and fulfilled puts people in a strong position to compete in the work market and cultivate the happiness of other members of their teams. Everyone wins.


Part of the learning process includes a self-assessment about students’ relationships, materialistic values and other emotional metrics. Dr. Brooks says that while some high achievers rank highly on finding meaning and accomplishments, they score lower on positive emotions. They defer gratification constantly which, he believes, can lead to burnout.


The advice is logical – cultivate positive emotions and live in the present. If something goes wrong, try to fix it, then move on and don’t be overwhelmed by the things you can’t change. People don’t fear failure itself, Dr. Brooks tells students, but how failure will make them feel.


The overwhelming popularity of this course reflects a wider trend among business schools to treat emotional awareness, relationships, communication and balance as seriously as more traditional business subjects. Move over financial modelling; it’s time to embrace the rise of soft skills and an increased appetite for more balanced lives. Are you ready?


Do you agree with Dr. Brooks? How does your company nurture happiness and well-being in the workplace? Please get in touch with the team at ABL to let us know your views. And, if you’ve got your sights set on finding a new, happier (or other!) workplace, please give us a call. With over 124 open vacancies currently on our books and strong relationships with over 400 leading organisations worldwide, we will find you the perfect match for your dream job wish-list!