Hope is a feeling of expectation, a desire for a particular thing to happen. It is an optimistic state of mind. Most people want to feel hopeful – hopeful in their jobs, their relationships, their goals, hopeful for the future.
Sometimes, though, it is hard to hope. When the job is overwhelming, the culture toxic, or the environment unsupportive or harsh, hope seems distant. Those moments are when leaders must step in, communicating with positivity and passion. When we demonstrate continued commitment, we help others to hope. We provide a renewed sense of purpose, a feeling of significance, a camaraderie amongst the worn and weary.
How does hope help? When people have hope, they persevere. Circumstances may be challenging, but if we can cling to the hope of a brighter tomorrow we will continue to work towards our goals. The outcome may appear bleak, but as long as we have a glimmer of hope that the tide may turn in our favor, we will press onward. Hope fuels us to do more, to be better.
Sometimes, when struggles come, people need to be reminded to hope. Hope isn’t easy. Hope has to be replenished. Hope requires people to opt in, to look at the bright side, to see the opportunity. This is why leaders must help. To help is to make it easier for someone; we have to make it easier for people to have hope.
Where does hope come from? Hope stems from a belief in our mission. A sense of purpose, of rightness in what we’re doing. Hope rises when leaders are authentic, open about the challenges but optimistic about the opportunities. Hope increases when leaders celebrate successes and embrace new ideas. Hope provides a foundation for people to then be creative, communicative, and collaborative.
Is hope really that important? Absolutely yes. Without hope, people become complacent. They perform the functions of their position out of habit rather than engaging in their role in order to achieve goals or see success. Without hope, people become negative, waiting for the impending doom of loss – whether loss of revenue, loss of position, or even loss of the business altogether. Without hope, people assume the worst, and then begin preparing for it. A loss of hope instills a loss of engagement.
We rely on hope! Hope keeps us looking forward and moving onward. Hope is the key that unlocks our ambition and opens the gate to our willingness to try, to dream, to aspire. Without hope, we wither. With hope, we thrive.
The leadership lesson? Communicate with purpose and passion, inspiring others to the shared vision. When we can look to the future together, we have hope. Leaders, we must help those around us to hope.