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Want Happy Employees? Make Sure Your Leaders Have These 4 Key Characteristics. These are four key characteristics of leaders that support having happy employees.

By Kristel Bauer Edited by Chelsea Brown

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Maskot | Getty Images

If you have been lucky enough to experience having a great boss, then you know how large of an impact it can have on your happiness at work and your job performance. On the flip side, if you have experienced what it is like to work for someone who makes you feel crummy, you know that having a boss who lacks certain key traits can be a recipe for disaster! So, what does it take to be a great leader who supports happy employees? While knowing the ins and outs of the job is important, there is a lot more that goes into being able to effectively lead and manage a team. Here are four critical components that should be at the top of every company's list when they are looking for optimal team leaders:

Related: How to Balance Employee Happiness and Business Expectations

1. Emotional intelligence

How well do you handle your emotions? Whether it's a misunderstanding at the office, a frustrated customer or some unexpected stressors, life is filled with ups, downs and unexpected surprises. Having emotional intelligence can help you navigate these challenges in the best possible way, and it can also help you be an incredible boss and leader. Fostering emotional intelligence starts with having self-awareness.

A great way to develop this is by practicing mindfulness. Have awareness of your present moment experience, your feelings and your emotions — free of judgment. When you are feeling strong emotions, pause and recognize that they will pass. Have effective techniques and strategies to manage your stress, and remember to keep things in perspective by remembering that there are many ways to perceive a situation. Aim to try and see things from another's point of view.

2. Excellent communication skills

Are you aware of your non-verbal communication? Body language and non-verbal cues are key components for optimizing communication and developing trust, which is a must-have for a great leader and boss. You can take steps to encourage a positive and welcoming environment by optimizing your verbal and non-verbal communication. Using body language in an empowering and mindful way can enhance trust and build connections in the workplace.

Your body language can impact how the people around you feel and how they interpret what you are trying to communicate. If your arms are crossed, and you are avoiding eye contact with someone, you may be perceived as angry or disinterested. However, if you have your arms at your side in an open stance, are smiling and looking someone in the eye, you will likely come across as engaging and approachable. A great leader communicates in a way that motivates and empowers others while keeping the door open for growth and feedback.

Related: 3 Proven Ways to Keep Employees Happy

3. Promote autonomy

Great leaders get to know the unique talents and skills of members of their team, and they delegate tasks and responsibilities accordingly. Micromanaging is not only a waste of time and energy, but it can also hold employees back from feeling trusted, valued and having professional growth. A leader's role is to give their team space to do their jobs and to provide constructive feedback and guidance when necessary. When leaders recognize the capabilities of their team and then allow them to do their thing, everyone benefits!

4. Dedication to personal well-being

According to a 2021 Indeed survey of 1500 U.S. workers on employee burnout, 52% of those surveyed were feeling burned out, and 27% were unable to unplug from work. Supporting and promoting well-being at work is a critical component to the health and productivity of employees, as well as the success of a company and organization. Leaders and bosses are in a position to set an example for well-being at work. Promote regular breaks, incorporate time between meetings for self-care, introduce and practice stress management strategies, and create a space where employees know they are valued and heard.

Related: This Simple Leadership Tactic Will Keep Your Employees Happy and Productive

During one of my speaking engagements on wellness at work to a group from a large company, I opened the floor for the audience to share some of their personal goals in regard to well-being. After some employees shared some of their struggles and goals, a wonderful thing happened: The team leader started to strategize with them to see how they could help make things better. Making well-being a priority results in happier and healthier employees who are in a better position to excel at their job.

Disclaimer: This content purely represents the opinion of the author and is for informational & educational purposes only. It is not medical advice or treatment recommendations. Always talk to your healthcare provider about recommendations specific to you.

Kristel Bauer

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of Live Greatly, Keynote Speaker, Corporate Wellness Expert

Kristel Bauer is a top Keynote Speaker, corporate wellness and performance expert, helping companies & individuals embrace a growth mindset for more happiness and success. Bauer hosts the global top 1% self-improvement podcast "Live Greatly," sharing insights about leadership, wellness & success.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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