Non-Profit Leadership: Leaders Who Instill Hope and Gain Trust

Happy business leader clapping hands standing in office with team of her employees

As a non-profit CEO you often have discussions with disillusioned employees. Some are exhausted with their work. Some are upset about organizational issues or offended by other staff members. Some feel they have been discriminated against. Some have very legitimate complaints and others have personal issues that may have nothing to do with their job or department but have imported those issues into the workplace. I probably could fill this page with all the categories for which employees become upset or discouraged.

It is predictable that non-profit leaders could react defensively and miss the opportunity to employ a strategy that could help the staff member discover a new perspective on their situation. Sometimes what they are concerned about has some practical problem-solving techniques that need to be explored and resolved. But more often they need hope that the situation can change.

Leaders who are hopeful can instill the realities that a changed and better future are possible. Hope happens when we create an emotional state where there is clarity about what the future can be and a map as to how to get there. When that possibility is real to staff they can sense the possibility of change and renewal for them and those around them.

Leaders who can bring hope have at least 3 qualities.

• They have dreams and visions for the future while being in touch with those within their sphere of influence.

•They must believe they have the ability to create the desired change.

• They can communicate the fact that the future map is feasible and real. 

Group of diversity people fist bump holding hands together power of tag team. Teamwork Multiethnic people group working togetherness. Business people team holding hands successful. Business meeting

In my own experience the optimistic perspective of hope for change is just as powerful as being a brilliant problem-solver. Often some of the issues that need to be resolved include taking time, being change agents, creating new endeavors and pursuits of new ideas that can feel unrealistic. The belief that hope is possible has to be fervent and conveyed with confidence.  Thus the vision of hope instills positive and resonant emotions.  

Also, hopeful strategies that are implemented provide an environment where trust is established. Leaders who provide a map for hopeful outcomes and then deliver those outcomes can be depended on when the next set of challenges appear. It is a rewarding feeling to have that kind of trust so that when problems or future plans are needed, people that you work with turn to you for the hope they need! 

Gerry Vassar


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