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After a long weekend of Pomp and Circumstance, flotillas and fairy cakes, old rockers and royalty, Queen Elizabeth II emerged as a leader who had stayed true to herself and her values while also managing to change sufficiently with the times. Her promise 60 years ago was to commit herself to a life of service to her people. The respect given during the Jubilee celebrations, by her people, was for that promise, made and kept. The nation revelled in shared experience and pride in what we seem to be able to do well, even if we can’t always make the trains run on time or stop the rain falling. It didn’t matter. We were part of something bigger than ourselves. The more reserved British often look askance at outpourings of enthusiasm in the people but perhaps there is a lesson about our need for positive emotion in these dark days and for visible, trustworthy leadership. Post-banking and political crises, business leaders are in search of trust too. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s message, essentially reminded us that the Queen’s tenure had been a perfect illustration of the importance of the search for meaning and of creating a community. Both are essential building blocks of trust. Positive psychology research has demonstrated that a sense of meaning is critical to the experience of subjective wellbeing, i.e. happiness, and the good health, success and even longevity that accompany it.  Maslow’s Theories of Motivation would have us believe that everyone has to climb the hierarchy of needs, establishing security and all the basic materialistic needs before searching for higher meaning and self actualisation. Current research turns that theory upside down. Wherever people are in life, they seek to find meaning and purpose. Ideally, they discover it in their life’s work. So, as a leader, how do you ensure that you give your people a sense of being part of something meaningful, something bigger than themselves? How do you help them create a lasting legacy? Because when it comes down to it, most people want to know they have made a difference. How do you also build good communities in the workplace? The recent economic challenges, coming on top of decades of ‘delayering’ have taken their toll of community spirit. All too often teams are just disparate groups of people. Goodwill has fallen to a low ebb and stress can flourish. Good communities are founded on generalised reciprocity – the altruistic helping of other people, knowing that there may not be anything in it for you in the short term but trusting that in the end it will have been worth it. A good leader will find ways to foster and encourage a sense of caring for the well being of others and for the business as a whole. A decade of research suggests that happiness at work — defined as positive emotion, engagement, good relationships, meaning and accomplishment — can improve revenue, profitability, staff retention, customer loyalty, and workplace safety and, above all, cause people and the organisation to flourish. Perhaps some of those not so old fashioned virtues of dedication, service, doing your duty and giving back to others hold the key to good organisations of the future.

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