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Leading with Hope
“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
The election results affirmed that Americans have grown tired of being led through fear and intimidation. Rather, the theme of promise that our nation and our lives can improve resonated with the majority of voters.
What lesson does this offer to us as business people? No matter what products or services we provide, customers are simply people who want hopeful, positive solutions to their problems. They want to make things better for themselves and their businesses, and they are willing to invest in solutions that deliver profitability, productivity, and relief from stress. As businesspeople, our offerings must contribute in some way, either directly or indirectly, to satisfy these universal human needs.
Our employees seek the same things. They want to be valuable participants in our companies. They generally want to grow and improve their careers. They want to achieve work/life balance through satisfying employment which helps them attain their goals and contributes to their dreams. And, of course, as business owners we want the same things.
By leading with hope, we can offer our customers and employees possibilities. In turn we will benefit as well. The greatest leaders motivate people with optimism, instill passion and bring everyone on the ride. Here are some suggestions on how you can do it:
Whatever your current challenges may be, think about how you can make a difference and inspire others. Remember that as a leader, people look up to you. You set the tone and pace for what is to come; so arouse the troops, and provide them with the tools and motivation to progress. You will enjoy a stronger business, committed employees and loyal customers. In addition, you will achieve greater satisfaction in your personal and professional life.
- Express your gratitude. Show appreciation for what you already have. Thank your customers for their business and your employees for their contributions.
- Share your goals and values. People more easily connect with someone who shares their values and articulates their hopes. Make that clear in your message and your interactions.
- Use positive language. There are many ways to discuss things with both realism and optimism. Practice framing your words more favorably, using encouraging language to engage others. But do make sure there is substance behind the talk.
- Be honest. Optimism is best delivered with sincerity. If you have some lingering doubts, work through them so that you believe and are believable.
- Be forward thinking. Inspiring leaders don’t dwell on the past, they learn from it. They then accept the present, while planning for a better future, offering others a role in the process. In this way, they manage to change the focus from me to we.