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Finding happiness from inclusive leadership

5 Jan 2021
Ewan Anderson

Do you feel you are missing something at work? Are you looking for more from your employer to help you grow professionally and personally? 

Then perhaps your leaders are not creating the inclusive workplace that would benefit you and grow the business. 

Happiness at work

There is considerable research that correlates happiness at work to productivity and personal growth. 

Some of the figures quoted suggest that happy employees are 12% more productive and that companies with happy employees outperform their competitors by 20%. 

However, the findings indicate that your happiness is unlikely to be linked to installing a new beer fridge or the latest team party (even if it is on Zoom). Promotion and increases in pay are not unwelcome, but they are not a key driver for happiness and satisfaction.

Real happiness for employees comes from a feeling of worth, from providing an ongoing positive contribution, the notion that you are part of the bigger picture and that you matter. 

While we are not naive enough to think that everyone will be happy all the time, especially at work and that these may sound like platitudes and reasonably easy to achieve, they are the essence of an inclusive workplace.   

A more engaging, inclusive environment (remote or not) will improve productivity, increase innovation and inspire freedom of expression that adds to a more fulfilling experience. 


Psychological capital 

What makes for an inclusive environment, where you can flourish as an employee and fulfil your potential?

Some interesting research revealed a strong correlation between inclusive leadership and strengthening an employee's psychological capital. 

The research set out to prove that psychological capital, related to life at work, which comprises self-efficacy, hope, optimism, and resilience, can be positively affected by an inclusive leadership style. 

The assertion is that employees' self-efficacy improves when leaders focus on their team's motivations and needs. A leader always has a lot on their plate, but taking the time to understand your motivations, interests, and ambitions will provide the confidence to deliver real results. It also inspires you to take ownership of your work and generates a feeling of collective responsibility.     

Providing regular, clear communication and thoughtful, constructive feedback also heightens hope and optimism. Many of the criticisms levelled at poor leaders is around communication. Companywide communication is critical to provide the confidence that the company is going in the right direction. However, positive communication at a more granular level is heartening to hear and established an optimistic outlook.     

Positive reassurance, a recognition for who you are and an appreciation of you as an individual, creates the resilience needed to push the boundaries and innovate, critical to the companies' success. 

One of the most critical aspects of an inclusive culture is shared failure. While no one sets out to fail, it is a necessary part of innovation and growth. So providing you with the latitude to try, test and occasionally fall short is essential in building up the psychological capital to be happy at work.       


While your happiness is the critical product of inclusive leadership, a positive by-product is increased innovation. As was mentioned, a happier employee is more productive and produces a higher standard of work, delivering better business results. 

However, in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, innovation is critical. An inclusive workplace creates the perfect conditions to inspire innovation, find new and exciting solutions to problems that challenge the market. 

So if you feel like something is missing from your working life right now and you are not feeling happy or inspired, perhaps it is time to find a more inclusive employer who can provide you with the foundations to fulfil your true potential.


Ewan Anderson
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