The importance of hope cannot be overstated. Hopeful leaders instill confidence in others that a better future is possible.
Hopeful leaders are constantly and relentlessly in pursuit of what ought to be. Leading in hopeful anticipation of that which will come to be—and painting a picture of what’s next.
The vision compels you to greatness. Not your greatness compelling you to come up with a vision.
I’ve observed that the most hopeful, vision-centered leaders have a predictable set of characteristics. Hope-filled leaders are:
1) Optimistic about the future. Even when sales are down, or morale is low or the budget must be cut back, hopeful leaders believe tomorrow holds great opportunities for personal and organizational success. They are forward-thinking, inspiring, enthusiastic and positive.
2) Focused on the best in their people, not the worst. Hopeful leaders are encouraging. Rather than browbeat their team over yesterday’s failures, they focus on the unique strengths of every employee.
3) Never satisfied, but always content. Hopeful leaders are always moving toward a goal, but they don’t allow it to steal their joy. They seem happy where they are but refuse to stay there.
4) Accepting of change. Hopeful leaders embrace change in their lives and organizations because they know this is often the fastest path to growth and improvement. They have a “bring it on” attitude and invite change with open arms. They are innovative and try new things at the risk of failing.
5) Embrace failure. Failure is not final or fatal. It’s required. A scary vision means courage is paramount. What did you learn from your last failure? What did you learn from the mistake in the last venture that will now get you to the next level?
6) Inclusive, not exclusive. Hopeful leaders invite others into their vision. They are confident in where they are going, and able to get others involved. People won’t willingly follow you until they can see how they share in the future you envision.
7) Personally bought in. A hopeful leader’s vision propels them personally. It stirs them up and drives them forward. They don’t wait on someone else to hand them a vision and they don’t need to draft one with pen and paper; it’s already inside of them.
8) Able to deliver. Do what you said you would do. Follow through. No matter how significant or insignificant the task or assignment, get it done. He who is faithful with little will be faithful with much. Credibility is built over time because of hundreds and hundreds of small assignments done well.
9) Repeat, repeat, repeat. One of the ways great teams become great is through repetition. Great sports teams thrive on repeating. Creating excellence through repetition. I can remember growing up around coaches, and I constantly heard, “Run it again.” Over and over and over. And then again. Even if we ran the play to perfection, we heard, “Run it again.” Think about the best communicators you know. They use repetition constantly to drive home a point. Think about great parents you know. They use repetition in disciplining and molding their children. Great coaches and great leaders and great communicators and great parents repeat. Consistency counts. Run it again.
Think about your leadership and look at the list again.
What is one thing you can do today to instill hope and a positive vision in the people who follow you?