Driving out Despair

A recent guest on the Deep Leadership podcast, Steven Mays, got me thinking.

He said that one of the most important actions a leader must take is to drive out despair.

In more than 30 years in leadership, I have never heard anyone say anything quite like that.

But, if you think about it, it makes so much sense.

One of the most important actions a leader must take is to drive out despair. Click To Tweet

Despair is the complete loss of hope.

It’s the feeling you have no control over what is happening in your life. If I think back over my 22 years working on corporate America, I witnessed a lot of despair.

I saw people who felt they were in dead-end jobs with no hope of a promotion.

I saw employees who became disengaged because their bosses were too busy to listen to their ideas or ignored them completely.

I witnessed the frustration when corporate bosses made decisions without talking to front line personnel.

In truth, I saw a lot of despair in the workplace. There seemed to be a significant percentage of employees who felt they had no control over what was happening in their lives and careers.

And from what I can tell, the problem is getting worse during this global pandemic.

Napoleon Bonaparte famously said, “A leader is a dealer in hope.”

So, the question is – are you a dealer in hope?

What are you doing to drive out despair in your company?

What are you doing to drive out despair in your company? Click To Tweet

A simple thing like genuinely asking employees how they are doing can demonstrate that you care about what they are going through right now.

Giving employees a platform to provide input on your next major decision will give them a sense of control.

Acknowledging the current situation with the economy but giving them a clear vision for the future will provide much-needed hope.

Now more than ever, leaders must take action to drive out despair.

What does that mean for your organization? Talk to your team and find out.

Deep Leadership Podcast


Listen in to my full conversation with Steven Mays here. He is a former submarine officer and author of the book, The Power of 3: Lessons in Leadership. This is a fascinating episode where we talked about what leaders need to do to be effective at leading their teams.

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