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Treat ‘hope’ as a leadership tool

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Leaders deal in hope. Here are seven steps to reinforce it:
  1. Seek out other hopeful, willing and courageous people. They need your leadership to succeed.

  2. Avoid pessimists. Acknowledge the reasons for their doubt (they may be right), but don’t wallow in their world.

  3. Step off the curb. How often do people — fully aware of an opportunity — stand frozen in alarm? Leaders tip the delicate balance of hope and fear in favor of hope. To do that, call somebody who can help, or pull together a team to grab ideas and go.

  4. Build your storytelling skills. Think of metaphors to describe what you want to accomplish. Look your listeners in the eye and communicate why this spreadsheet is important to them, offering a reason that will affect their future. A meaningful story helps instill hope.

  5. Provide your team with simple mantras — sometimes called “private speech” — that will guide their decision-making. Losers freak out; leaders “freak in” by staying focused.

  6. Use symbols to raise the group’s awareness and make hope actionable. A symbol can be almost anything. Nelson Mandela used sandwiches to fight apartheid. Lance Armstrong uses bracelets to fight cancer.

  7. Create a belief system. Pull a group of your stars together for a conversation about what they believe and why. Why are they in these jobs? In this field? If you can align personal and organizational beliefs, you win.
The least that can happen if you ask people what they believe in and why their work is important: They will respect you. They may even go to the moon for you.

—Adapted from Hope: How Triumphant Leaders Create the Future, Andrew Razeghi, Jossey-Bass/Wiley.

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