Published on Feb 22, 2022
Harvard Business School launched a seven-week Leadership and Happiness class in 2020. It is designed, apparently, to give attendees a better understanding of the basis of their own happiness and of their emotional strengths/weaknesses and enable them to ‘lead others in a way that increases happiness.’
The course documentation says that ‘to be a successful leader you need to understand happiness and manage to it – yours and others. Unfortunately, most leaders have to learn this fact by hard experience. They are never exposed to the expanding science of happiness, which contains a wealth of information on how to be happier as a leader and make others happier as well.’
So, all you leaders and managers out there, get to it!
You can no longer be just a profit-driven manager these days, with eyes only on the bottom line. Harvard teaches its students that that it is no longer enough, because workers, in large numbers – having been buffeted by Covid-19 – are leaving their jobs (the Great Resignation), changing their work patterns and generally rethinking what they want to do. They are seeking to optimise their pay and their work-life balance because their general levels of happiness and contentment have suffered and they increasingly question what they are doing with their lives and who they are working for.
Harvard believes, therefore, that happiness has to be focussed on and it suggests that leaders and managers need to look at the following four key areas not only for yourself, but also for the people you are responsible for: family; friends; meaningful work; and a life philosophy. Attending to these will mean you can create a happier workplace, be a better boss and gain a competitive advantage for your business.
Harvard itself now has a VP of Happiness for its student association who, according to The Times, is ‘sharing cheery posts from around the campus on social media and helping classmates to unwind with massages and sessions with therapy dogs.’
One can be cynical about this Harvard course, but I’m not at all dismissive of it, more disappointed that it is deemed to be necessary. Surely we all want to be happy – and to enable others to be happy – at work.
To round off, I offer a few random observations of what might lie at the root of achieving happiness for ourselves and others in our work lives:
Published on Feb 22, 2022 by Neil Thomas