You’ve probably heard the phrase, “hope is not a strategy.”
While I generally agree with that statement, I would argue that hope is essential for leadership. And at times, even more powerful than strategy itself.Hope is essential for leadership. Click To Tweet
The great Napoleon Bonaparte once said that “a leader is a dealer in hope.”
A dealer in hope? Yes, that’s a strange description. In my mind, I see a leader dealing out hope like playing cards to worried employees.
In a way, that’s exactly what a leader must do.
Consider Winston Churchill. In the dark days of the beginning of World War II, the British people were filled with despair. They had suffered heavy losses, and there was fear throughout the country that Germany would be successful in overcoming the small Island nation.
In a speech delivered on June 4, 1940, Churchill provided hope to a worried nation. He assured them that:
“We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets, and on the hills. We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God’s good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old.”
In one speech, Winston Churchill ignited a country. He drove out despair and gave his people a hopeful vision of the future.
It’s our job as leaders to do the same.
In the past two years, every business has faced unprecedented challenges. A global pandemic, a deeply divided nation, labor shortages, inflation, and the supply chain crisis have all pushed employees to new levels of stress and anxiety.
People are worried about their jobs, their families, and their future. They are looking to their leaders for answers.
Just like Churchill, our role as leaders is to drive out despair and provide hope.Our role as leaders is to drive out despair and provide hope. Click To Tweet
You might be asking yourself – how can I drive out despair when I don’t know what will happen in the future? How can I provide hope when I’m having trouble finding it myself?
Simple. We need to take a page out of Churchill’s playbook.
Instead of griping, complaining, and worrying in front of our employees, we must provide a hopeful vision of the future.
The only way to drive out despair is to unite our employees around a hopeful vision.
When the seas turn violent, and a storm blows in, sailors look to their captain for hope and assurance.
There will be time for strategy, but right now, our people need hope more than ever.
Providing a hopeful vision is one of the most important roles of a leader, learn more about establishing a hopeful vision in my new book All in the Same Boat.
[Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash]