Leaders today face unprecedented challenges. There is fear everywhere and, considering the world we live in, that fear is understandable and it’s easy to understand why. 

“I believe hope is the only thing we can never afford to be without, and the jet fuel for the journey of work and life.” —Libby Gill

The world‘s greatest leaders all have one thing in common; they brought hope in the face of despair. The Martin Luther King Jr. “I have a Dream” speech oozes hope. As he addressed the crowd, he acknowledged their plight. “I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations.” He kept their eyes on the brighter road ahead. “Let us not wallow in the valley of despair… This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” 

Although he has passed on and most of us never had the opportunity to meet him, his words still continue to inspire millions around the world and that is why we admire leaders like him. They gave us something to hold on to; they made a personal connection with us through giving us hope.

Challenging times like these that we are facing, are the most difficult in which to lead, especially as the workplace changes, the economy struggles, and people live in fear and uncertainty of their jobs. People are challenged to remain motivated. 

Emotions are contagious. Teams don’t leave their emotions at the door when they report for work. If they are having personal problems, those emotions affect their work. Similarly, no one can sustain constant sacrifice. Almost everybody is going through something. They are barely hanging on. Our office had to be a place of Hope. I wanted them to be inspired and not dread to have to come to work in spite of all the troubles they were facing.

Many people just want a leader to tell them that everything is going to be okay. They want a sense of security; a feeling that their worries will soon be gone. People search for hope to recapture that moment in time when they had minimal problems and felt their best.

7 ways Leaders can instil Hope:

  1. Be visible. Be Present.
  2. Be as open, honest, and as fair as possible.
  3. Emphasise Optimism.
  4. Encourage and Motivate.
  5. Focus on Possibility.
  6. Let your people know how much you Value them.
  7. Invest in People

Please don’t misunderstand; hope is not a good way to manage a business. Budgets, strategic plans, targets, and forecasts are all tools that leaders use to manage a business on a day-to-day basis, but hope is needed to lead people. Hope is intangible, but it is a matter of human nature that we all seek.

Three Benefits of Hope

  • Hope Restores Faith
  • Hope Promotes Clarity
  • Hope Helps to Increase Productivity

Hope is a vital component of a leader’s life. The leader’s hope surrounds the belief that his goalwill beattained. It enables one to face tough times with creativity and resilience. Leading in these uncertain times requires inspiration more than ever. The ability to instil hope is a necessary leadership trait. However, one of the most important things that a leader must do is provide clarity of direction. 

In the face of despair, hope is a revolutionary act. If it fails to look reality and suffering in the face, it is shallow optimism. Hope is different. Hope resists the cruel and unforgiving determinist logic of the world. It is not the defeated, resounding sigh of “Look on the bright side of things.” It stands in defiance: Things do not have to be this way.

When faced with an invitation to hope, the temptation to despair—to talk yourself out of it—stalks closely behind. In a year where hope has been tough to come by, it’s imperative to let yourself feel it when it comes.

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