The Happy Warrior of Leadership.

In the words of William Wordsworth, a Happy Warrior is…

Who, with a natural instinct to discern,
What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn;
Abides by this resolve, and stops not there,
But makes his moral being his prime care.

Although the happy warrior is concerned with knowledge, their main priority is a moral one. This can be linked to research that suggests the two traits that we evaluate first when gauging others for leadership are warmth and competence. Insights show that these two dimensions account for more than 90% of the variance in our positive or negative impressions we form of the people around us. Whilst it is said that it is ideal to be both feared and loved; warmth and trustworthiness are more important when it comes to leadership.

By leading with warmth and setting your priorities on trust and understanding, you will find your voice as a leader is heard, respected and a deeper understanding and connection is made with your employees. This being said, strength must still show through and it is this balance that creates the Happy Warrior – a leader whom people trust to handle situations with authenticity and warmth, but fundamentally will get the job done and drive success from their heightened sense of self control.

It’s a difficult balance to create and it’s not an overnight job, as we all lead in different ways with styles varying from person to person. But using these tips, you could adapt your behaviours to show both control and comfort to your employees and reap the benefits of a work force who trusts you from the offset.

  • The importance of body language

Our ability to read body language is greater than we give ourselves credit and we can very quickly get a sense for someone on the way they stand, use their hands and even sit on their chair. To be a Happy Warrior, it’s all about projecting yourself from the inside out and showing warmth through your stance and actions. Show that you’re listening, interested and engaged with the people around you, and it’s guaranteed to make your employees feel more trusted and valuable.

  • Say it like you mean it

When we’re trying to make a good impression or show authority, our voice often changes, and it can come off as patronising. Try speaking to your employees as if they were one of your friends, in a tone that makes them feel at ease, even sharing snippets of personal information to show that you’re open to communicating honestly with them. By doing this you’ll find you’ll have more productive conversations and will show your staff that you’re sincere. 

  • Find your power

Warmth is hard to fake but talking yourself into being confident is ten times harder. If you don’t truly believe in yourself, other will struggle to also. To be a Happy Warrior, you have to get over the feeling of being an imposter – like you’re not good enough for the job you have been given. Feeling confident is about connecting with your inner self and finding your personal power. Practicing power poses before you go into a new environment or meeting can really help with this – as it’s not about asserting dominance over others to feel good, but about asserting dominance over your own nerves, fears and personal daemons. Happy Warriors are all about inner strength which will make you an authentic, trustworthy and valued leader. 

  • Validate people’s feelings

Acknowledging employees concerns or fears will mean that people respect you for bringing up the elephant in the room and thus they will be more open to see what you have to say on the matter. Whether you agree with them or not, always show your staff that you understand their thinking. If you know it’s not a comment you’re going to take on board, still look people in the eye and explain that you recognise their point of view before letting them down. Making this good practice will also mean you’re prepared to address difficult times that may arise in the company, as if you want your colleagues to agree with and trust in you, you must first agree with and trust in them. 


Re-evaluate your leadership style and see if there are any techniques here that could benefit both you and your workforce – and try, day by day, to become your own Happy Warrior.

For some other tips, take a look at the other content we have on leadership and management here!

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