What Is Hopeful Leadership?

I have been discussing characteristics of emotionally and relationally healthy leadership using Resonant Leadership by Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee. The authors have described hopefulness, a key quality to leadership, as significant for anyone who attempts to grow, achieve or even heal. Without hope there is little capacity for positive emotions in any life role.

Hope is optimism about the future

hopeful leadership concept
Hope leads to positive thoughts, emotions and actions.

Hope instills the capability to attain certain goals and experience well-being in the process. In short, when we feel hope we feel elated because the future seems feasible. Therefore, hope is an emotional state accompanied by clear thoughts about what the future can be and how to get there.

Aspects of hope, particularly elation, happiness and a sense of control over one’s destiny, spark renewal. When we are in a hopeful state, we have more physical and emotional resiliency, and we are more prepared to deal with challenges.

The ripple of hope: a far-reaching impact

Hope leads to positive emotions, positive thoughts, better coping abilities and less depression. Hope has actually been documented to help patients heal. It has been shown to predict higher grades and has accounted for enhanced athletic performance in college students.

It impacts how we think and reason, how we interact with other people, and what we are capable of achieving. Positive emotions that result as an outcome of hope impact our openness and cognitive flexibility, problem-solving abilities, empathy, willingness to seek variety, overall persistence, and tenacity.

Key leadership lessons from Boyatzis and McFee.

Research about hopeful leaders shows they have demonstrated the power of hope in 3 key leadership lessons.

1. The leader needs to have dreams and aspirations, but also can be in touch with those of the people around him or her. This helps form the desired image of the future.

2. The leader needs to be optimistic and believe in his or her ability to make change.

3. The leader must see the desired future as realistic and feasible.

What are your dreams of leadership?

There is much to think about as leaders implement this type of climate in their respective spheres of influence.

It is important to realize that leaders who are hopeful are capable to dream with those around them. They can optimistically set a path for the future, will support their people in the journey (ups and downs), and will confidently move them toward achieving goals and dreams. A hopeful leadership is not removed from goals, but embraces the journey to them with optimism.

In a world of abundant emotional, relational and economical challenges, hopeful leaders can be catalysts to dreams fulfilled and resonant environments. There is significant opportunity to encourage and inspire those around us!

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

Some information taken from Resonant Leadership, Copyright 2005, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, All Rights Reserved. pp. 150 to 153.

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