I was reminded recently of one of the most important characteristics a true leader must exhibit, Hope. Hope must always be the common theme throughout our leadership processes. A project without hope is doomed from the beginning. A team member without hope is doomed for failure. A leader without hope is an incurable cancer that will affect the entire team.
A friend of mine shared a story with me recently of a team leader who called a meeting with subordinates to discuss a new marketing project. When the team members assembled their leader stood before them and announced, “We have a very tough assignment, but one that must be accomplished. This is our last chance at this, if we don’t get it done this time all of us are out of here.” What little hope team members may have had when they entered the meeting were now dashed. With hope seemingly gone, you can imagine what happened to the project. Yep, it failed and just like the team leader explained, everyone on the project was terminated.
As leaders we are often faced with some pretty tough consequences if those we lead do not perform to levels that exceed the norm. We must always remember that it’s our job to inject those in which we lead with the empowering effects of hope. While we may feel that if the project doesn’t succeed all will be terminated, that message should never be shared with the team. Inject hope instead of doubt.
Inject hope and you’ll be amazed at how the human spirit will react. Hope never disappoints us. I’ve often found that those in which I lead are often searching for hope in their personal, professional and spiritual lives. When I introduce them to hope its amazing how they become more involved in the project, grow personally and ultimately become leaders themselves. And if you’re truly a leader, developing other leaders is the ultimate goal.
Never, ever forget, every project in which you lead must begin with hope!