Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Leadership and happiness


I had an interesting experience this morning. In preparing for the Snow Canyon half marathon I did my weekly long run on a trail that attracts a lot of runners (in Provo canyon). As I’m running I tend to make some sort of contact with people I pass on the trail; a wave, a nod, a “good morning” or some gesture to perhaps brighten someone’s day. Often I’ll get a wave or a nod back, but not always.

During the last 2-3 miles of my run today (10 miles), it was getting harder to lift my head up and acknowledge people as I passed them, but I still did it. I noticed that every time I smiled and waved at someone, I felt better. It gave me a bit of kick and kept me going. It made me realize that even though it takes a bit of effort and energy to acknowledge a passing runner, it makes me better. I’ve done no research and have no scientific proof, but I strongly believe that making the effort to be friendly gives me more energy and helps me run better.

How does this apply to leadership? Happy leaders are better leaders. When you take the time to acknowledge the people you work with, and do little things to brighten their day, you feel better and they feel better. When people know their boss cares about them and is genuinely concerned about their happiness, they work harder.

Your attitude – the brightness in your face, your smile and your friendly acknowledgement of others – will have a major impact on the success of your organization. Be happy, let others know you’re happy, and the results will follow.

On a side note, if you’re interested in my running schedule you can follow me on Daily Mile.

The Product Management Perspective: To a large degree, the product manager sets the overall tenor and attitude of the team. Lead out by setting the right tone for your team. Not every day is a good day, but having the right attitude will make all the difference in the success of your products.

4 thoughts on “Leadership and happiness

  1. I could not agree more Michael, thanks for sharing! I thought you would enjoy this blog I wrote along the same topic. http://advertisingwithhairflair.blogspot.com/2011/06/secret-to-life-is-balance.html

    • Harry, thanks for the comment and especially for leaving the link to your insightful article. I agree that to lead successfully, you need to have balance, and that balance comes from living a life that brings happiness. My wife is absolutely the greatest source of comfort, direction and happiness in my life.

      I love your quote, “Revenues, Cash Flow, ROI, and Vision all come from business people who at their core are not only driven, but happy. Successful leaders all have a common denominator, and that is they are comfortable in their own skin.”

      Thanks for sharing,


  2. Funny how simple it can be, right? A smile and happiness as a leadership technique. All the best with your running.
    – Michael

    • You’re right Michael, it is (and should be) very simple. If we make just a little effort it’s easy to be happy, and when difficult things come the right attitude will help you get through them.

      I appreciate you sharing your comment.


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