Leadership Lessons from The Pursuit of Happyness

Did you know that Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness was based on a true story? Chris Gardner sought a career in finance while homeless and struggling to raise his young son. Eventually, he founded a brokerage firm. Despite the odds and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Gardner forged ahead.

That’s the makings of a genuinely great leader.

So, what can The Pursuit of Happyness teach leaders? Let’s examine a few points.

Dive headfirst into uncharted waters

Gardner pursued a career in which he had zero experience. Not only that, but he was homeless at the time. However, Gardner didn’t let that hold him back from achieving a goal he inherently knew was meant for him. As leaders, we must be resilient. Persistent. Willing to forge ahead blindly.

Now, that’s not to say you should navigate with reckless abandon, but if you see a chance opportunity that could catapult your company to another level, seize it. The unknown can be downright terrifying, but don’t let that stop you from potentially experiencing something magical.

Have faith in yourself

This is crucial. A leader cannot lead others without going inward. Self-confidence ties in with proper mental health, so take care of yourself is important if you want to lead others. 

Percy Bland, Jr. of Wilbridge Financial Group shared how The Pursuit of Happyness has inspired him to be a good leader.

Bland explained how Gardner’s desire to pursue a career outside of his wheelhouse related to his own experience:

“Even though I didn’t have the background to do the things I’m doing now, I felt like it was something I had to do, and I was built for it, so that encouraged me to do the same thing.”

Work for the good of your team

Another point Bland brought up was the fact that Gardner persisted for his son. He wasn’t just focusing on himself, he was putting the needs of others before his own. Being a leader often requires putting others first.

Keep up the momentum in all aspects at work. That includes effective and frequent communication. Find the best method for team communication that will keep your employees working as one cohesive unit.

Maintain a culture that is conducive to productivity. Host weekly team meetings where everyone can chime in. This also holds your team accountable for their own projects and helps enforce the importance of meeting deadlines so the work flow is most efficient. 

Believing you have to be a stone-cold boss to be respected is an archaic notion. Investing time or interest in the people that take care of your company will always lead to better outcomes.