Posted By: Asha Bianca
Published: October 5, 2017
When I think of the greatest leaders, there are many characteristics that come to mind, like integrity, grit, intelligence, and creativity. The one that has resonated more recently with me is hope. I’m not talking about a flighty, unfounded hope. I am talking about a well-reinforced hope in seeing the opportunities that might not be readily visible in a given situation.
A leader is an individual who sees a business, product, or team member and identifies how it can be better than it is. They then cast this vision, remove obstacles, and support their team on the path to success along the way. At its core, this process is hope in action. A leader uses hope as a verb, defined as “looking forward to with desire and reasonable confidence” or “to believe, desire, or trust.” Hope is necessary for a leader to invoke change. If they don’t have the seedling of hope, they won’t see the possibilities and move toward the actions of turning them into a reality.
A leader who I respect once asked a colleague, “Are you hoping or knowing?” The best leaders do both. They start with a hope of a possible disrupter or change, and they gain confidence in their ability to know it can work. Then they influence others to become advocates for it and create a contagious hope that turns into sweat, smarts, and work.
I pondered why hope isn’t one of the foundational leadership terms we frequently use, and I came to a conclusion: we are not comfortable with possibly being wrong. But great leaders have to be comfortable risking that they may be wrong, and wise enough to know when they are. This requires another H word: humility. I would challenge that as leaders, we must be comfortable with words like hope, dream, and believe being a core part of who we are. If we don’t allow ourselves to hope, dream, and believe, how can we expect our teams to?
Following are some key hope takeaways:
Some leaders are born; others can be made. Get more information about developing leaders here. And, if you'd like more of Asha Bianca's unique perspectives on leadership, check out her other articles: Continuous Improvement: From the Farm to the Conference Room, How the Most Effective Leaders Master the Art of Followership, and Can You Effectively Lead Without Coaching?