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Happy Leaders Have Successful Teams

by Beth on January 16th, 2012

Research shows that our happiness influences our own success, but what about the impact of a leader’s happiness on the success of his or her followers? Studies have, in fact, found that leaders’ positive moods enhance their followers’ performance.

One study of 85 leaders and 365 team members showed that team commission from sales was higher in teams led by leaders with positive moods. In addition to a direct impact of leader mood on team performance, leaders with positive moods displayed more transformational leadership behaviors, which was also related to better performance.

Transformational leaders have four characteristics: 1) idealized influence is when followers seek to identify with the leader, 2) inspirational motivation is a leader’s ability to inspire followers by articulating a clear vision for the future, 3) intellectual stimulation is when a leader challenges followers to reach their potential, and 4) individualized consideration is the specialized attention paid by a leader to each follower’s needs for growth.

Another study also found that positive leader traits including hope, optimism, and resilience were related to transformational leadership, which positively influenced firm performance. Leaders with hope, optimism, and resilience have greater confidence and are more positive, both of which inspire followers to look up to them. Their positivity and ability to identify various pathways to achieve goals are motivating, and their ability to rebound from setbacks encourages followers to take risks themselves in order to reach their potential. Finally, because hopeful leaders generate numerous pathways toward goal attainment, different paths are available to meet the specific needs of each follower.

Companies who want successful employees should seek positive people when they are appointing leaders. They can also offer training to help leaders learn about the impact of positivity in the workplace.

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