Last week was International Happiness at Work week and social media feeds were bursting with good news stories, hashtags galore and plenty of companies letting others know what they’re doing right. 

We’re always up for celebrating the good stuff but as we glide into another week (with a new ‘day of / week of’ hashtag having its moment in the sun) what happens to happiness at work when the spotlight moves off it?


What’s happiness got to do with leadership?

If you’re working, you’re either leading, being led or often with a foot in both camps. So we’re asking how happy do you feel in your leadership role? How happy do you think the other leaders around you feel?

We come across so many leaders who might look happy on the outside but inside they’re really struggling with imposter syndrome, insecurity and unhappiness in their leadership role. But if no one’s told you about creating happiness for yourself as a leader, let alone others, well where do you start? 

When we talk about leaders feeling happy we don’t mean a permanent nirvana-like bliss. We mean leaders who feel comfortable in their own skin, confident in who they are and capable in their leadership role. It’s only when this happens that leaders are able to create the conditions for their people to feel the same way. This is what Lead Happy™ is all about. 

How leaders can create cultures of motivation, fulfilment and happiness 

Let’s think of organisational culture as being like a house. Leaders often describe the challenges they face in their cultures – these might be people leaving, low motivation levels, silos developing, no-one taking ownership or conflict developing – and more. All of these things aren’t really the problem, it’s something much deeper than that. These ‘problems’ are really just the holes in the roof of the house that we can clearly see. However, the root causes of these problems lie much lower down at foundation level. 

We use our unique Lead Happy House™ to explore with leaders and teams every aspect of their leadership and organisational culture. By looking at the holes in the roof, working down to the support beams and then down to the cornerstones, we explore every aspect of a company’s culture and what the game changers could be to create a culture of fulfilment, purpose and growth – and ultimately happiness.

When you get these cornerstones in place, you can build a house that will be the envy of the neighbourhood.  We’ll give you the lowdown here:

To trust someone, you have to know them – simple right? So if your team doesn’t really know you, how can they trust you? There are some really easy ways of building trust. 

  • Start every meeting with a bang, ask things that provoke conversation (one great, fun example is for people to name the most embarrassing item in their house!). You’ll see the human start to emerge in people and guards will be lowered instantly. 
  • Always try to ask people open questions, you’ll get waves of information as opposed to a trickle when you ask closed questions. 


We crave it as humans, we come into the world with a need for it – it’s hardwired into our DNA. Make these simple changes and see how connection skyrockets:

  • Whenever you consider the word ‘communicate’ replace it with the word ‘connect.’ People don’t want more emails from you, they want to make a human connection with you.
  • Remember what people tell you and share with you and double back on it – this is connection gold. 


We talk about diversity and inclusion and how to improve it in workplaces, but we need to go further than that and create a sense of belonging. Here’s two ideas on how:

  • Invite different views into the room when you have a meeting. If you talk to the same people you’ll always get the same views and challenges and your wider community won’t feel they’re welcome or belong.
  • Be authentic in your role. You’ve been hired for you – and that means your personality, beliefs and flair as much as your skills and talents – show them all with gusto! 


Creating an environment of psychological safety sits at the heart of great leadership. Here’s two small ideas that have a big impact on creating a culture of safety:

  • Foster a culture where people feel comfortable to make mistakes (and own up to them) and learn along the way. 
  • Admit that you don’t know everything! Show vulnerability and ask for help when you need it. It empowers your people to know that they have skills that you don’t have.

If you or your HR lead would like to explore your leadership culture, book in for our free leadership diagnostic session here. We bring a fresh pair of eyes and our unique Lead Happy ™ formula which covers every aspect of brilliant leadership.