How and Why Excellent Leaders Create Hope
Leaders of high performing teams know that building capability requires so much more than developing knowledge, skills and abilities. They understand that an individual’s performance is based on a number of psychological traits, especially their resilience.
Much research has been conducted to discover how managers can help their team members to build their resilience and one of the surprising findings is that hope is a key requirements for high resilience levels.
Hope can be defined as: ‘an emotional state accompanied by clear thoughts about what the future can be and how to get there’ (Annie McKee & Richard Boyatzis, Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope, and Compassion, 2005).
Hope is important because it provides increased physiological and emotional resiliency which prepares your team both mentally and physically to deal with challenges. Hope also leads to a range of other great outcomes such as positive emotions, more positive thoughts, superior coping abilities, and less depression. As a result team members have access to greater openness and flexibility in their thinking, improved problem-solving abilities and higher levels of empathy and persistence.
So how can you help generate greater hope levels in the teams you lead?
Here are two key ways:
- Model hope: As the leader, it all starts with you! Research has found that managers with higher levels of hope have correspondingly higher team performance as well as better retention rates and more satisfied team members. Do you communicate a hopeful outlook? Do you create an overall positive emotional tone that is characterised by hope?
- Set short, medium and long term goals: Ensure there are current and effective team and individual goals and that they are reviewed regularly with progress acknowledged. Goals create a positive expectation for the future and a sense of success when progress is achieved. They also promote creativity in identifying strategies for goal achievement.
How else could you promote hope in your team? Share your great ideas!