The power of joy in leadership
Over the Christmas period I had the sheer delight of watching the new Mary Poppins film. As a fan of the original I was unsure whether this would be a good move but, for me at least, it was quite simply an hour and a half of pure joy. So much so, I was literally weeping.
I have been mulling on this feeling of joy ever since for several reasons. Firstly, just how powerful it feels to experience a sustained period of unexpected joy. It is empowering and uplifting – words such as delight, love, magical and beauty all come to mind. These are big, some might say, ‘fluffy’ words. And yet every one of them makes me smile as does recalling that deep sense of joy. Connecting with that in myself is infectious, informing my own connection with others – in my case not in an overt, bubbly sort of way but in a lighter, more open-hearted way.
Secondly reflecting that joyfulness is not commonly associated with leadership and noticing this as a shortcoming. In the workplace we typically don’t expect to feel the sensations associated with joy, do we? But what if we were to change that?
What if, like Disney, we set out to bring joy into the lives of others? He is quoted as having said ‘In my work I try to reach and speak to that innocence, showing it the fun and joy of living; showing it that laughter is healthy; showing it that the human species, although happily ridiculous at times, is still reaching for the stars.’
We can lead the way for humanity to connect with the joy of living if we too allow ourselves to connect with that joy in our own heart. Seeing beauty wherever possible, reaching toward love for all and opening ourselves to reach for the stars.