Sometimes I feel a bit self-conscious when I mention “touchy-feely” concepts like love or joy in a leadership blog. I believe many of us have been conditioned to view love and joy as too sentimental or soft for the hard work of leading. Let’s talk about delegating and influence. Let’s share best practices on feedback and strategic thinking. But love and joy? Please!!!!

I’m going to mention them anyway, even though they may be “touchy-feely” (or in fact because they’re “touchy-feely”) and even though I feel a bit self-conscious. I’ve been a leadership consultant and executive coach for over twenty years. If I haven’t learned to be a bit self-conscious and uncomfortable, and still take the risk of saying something to a client that I think they might benefit from or need to hear, then I’m doing something way, way wrong.

So yes, joy is necessary for effective leadership (and life). Because, as noted in this post on Thrive Global, 7 Ways to Find More Joy in Your Everyday Routine, studies have shown that incorporating joy into your everyday life can help you recover from stressful situations, solve problems, and fend off disease.

My clients often question me when they bring me challenges they’re facing with their team or their boss or their clients, and I suggest they practice being in the moment or looking for joy and beauty around them or writing a “gratitude and what I did to make it happen” list every day. (See below for what this is, how to do it, and why it’s so powerful.) They question the suggestion, but then when they put this into practice, they invariably tell me what a difference it made for them or how it helped them see their situation (and, at times, the people who are driving them crazy in that situation) differently.

Allowing for a bit of joy will most likely positively change your perception of what’s happening around you and to you – and this can help you lead more effectively. Choosing to find joy will most likely put you in a better mood and make you easier to work with – and this can help you lead more effectively. Noticing moments of joy will most likely put you more at ease, which can spark your creativity and out-of-the-box thinking – and this can help you lead more effectively.

You get the idea.

Check out the Thrive post – it’s quick and offers simple suggestions such as:

  • Change your perspective when something goes “wrong”
  • Find small moments of awe and wonder in the physical world around you
  • Volunteer and give of yourself
  • Make joy the focal point of your day

And click here to let us know how you’ve allowed more joy in your life and leadership – and what you’ve learned and how it’s helped you.

*The gratitude and what I did to make it happen is a great practice – each day list three wins or things you’re grateful for AND what you did to make those things happen. The gratitude/noticing part of this exercise increases your peripheral vision, so that you can see more possibilities and opportunities, and the “what I did to make it happen” part of this exercise increases your sense of self-efficacy. A win-win.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in focusing on the touchy-feely things like joy, contact Lisa at

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