The happy leader

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By Adrian Bobe


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

IF THERE is one word that has been subjectively defined, I think it has to be “leadership.” Its definition varies from different perspectives. Its technicality changes with the rhythm of time. Its applicability depends on one’s psychological makeup and life principles.

There’s the bureaucratic and democratic leader, the charismatic and charming, the strong-willed and the visionary. At times, there’s the half-hearted, the “do-it-my-way,” and the “I am the way” kind of leader.

Leaders differ—there’ the melancholic, ecstatic, the choleric and the iron-fist. But if there is one kind I would like to deal with, it’s the “happy leader.” Yes, there is such thing. And I have met a lot of them in places that either fuel passions or simply just meet the basics—in national gatherings, student workshops, sales awarding, coffee stations, bookstores, bus stops, airports, and social media like Twitter and Facebook.


These “happy leaders” accomplish things, target goals and radiate with what seems like massive and enduring serotonin count.

A “happy leader” has the ability to attract, charm, and influence people. The happy kind tends to have a mysterious ineffable quality. A handful of characteristics make up the happy leader: confidence, exuberance and optimism. As happy as they can be, they carry in their sleeves an infectious smile, warm body language and a passionate voice.

So while leadership style varies in organizations and work environment, happy leadership is a “blanket” to whatever leadership paranoia a person is in.

After all, no one is easier and more productive to work with but someone who manifests humble understanding of people, discipline without exaggeration and managing groups minus the dramatic antics.

My exposures to student leadership and nation-building have been sharpened over time. Through participation in various leadership programs in school and outreach initiatives, I matured as a person, and eventually as a leader.

From being the class forerunner in cleaning chairs and shining floors, I progressed to become a student leader.

A student leader is usually tormented between teachers and students. I became the thin line separating what student needs and what teachers think they need.

This is the kind of principle my mentor, Misamis Oriental Vice Governor Joey Pelaez taught me about: becoming the thin line, being the happy leader. As former head of the student activities program of the Department of Education’s Center for Student and Co-Curricular Affairs, he exposed thousands of student leaders to realize their potentials and contribute to effecting social changes in the grassroots.

His pioneer program, the National Leadership Training for Supreme Student Government Officers gathered motivational speakers, political leaders and social entrepreneurs to recreate school governance.

Year after year at the Teachers Camp in Baguio City, I have witnessed how the crowd of students and teachers grew from hundreds to thousands. The formula here is simple: leaders learn, enjoy and share. The very reason I am again writing on this topic, after my last attendance in 2009.

Presently, as vice governor of Misamis Oriental, the scion of the highly reputed Pelaez political clan of Mindanao, is taking his exposure to student involvement at the DepEd to a higher political platform.

His style of transformational leadership is reaping its good returns as Misamis Oriental is slowly developing from being a silent cradle in Northern Mindanao to becoming an aggressive region ready for business and international competition.

It must be noted that Cagayan De Oro is continually expanding its exportation of pineapple to wider segments. The copy, “A Happy MisOr” is a direct affirmation of his “happy leadership style”— imaginative, transformational, adaptive, radiant and yes, youthful. If only happy leadership is being nurtured in the government, the country might as well march in the halls of nations with satisfied citizens.

After all, happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them. Now, imagine what a country we can become if being adjudged as among the “happiest people on earth” can be translated into leadership and governance.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 20, 2014.


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