Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present.

John Maxwell

Few things are as demoralising as being around people who can talk only negatively about the future. It drains everyone’s energy. In leading yourself and others well it can be one of the most important but also hardest things to do: not to allow other people’s negativity to rub off on you and to fill your mind with positive thoughts and expectations of the future. For effective people with positive influence, it becomes an un-negotiable discipline to seek out what is positive and inspiring. This is not to be confused with escapism or the unwillingness to face reality. Good leaders are able to bravely confront brutal facts, yet still remain positive. As Viktor Frankl discovered in the Nazi concentration camps, our freedom to choose the perspective we take on life and the situation we find ourselves in, is the most fundamental and most powerful gift we have.

Finding you own source of hope

If you are a parent you know that there are times when you have to put your own anxieties aside for the sake of your children. You then choose to talk to them in positive, encouraging terms. When you do so you demonstrate leadership. You understand the importance of giving them something to hold on to, a belief, a vision of a positive outcome. What makes it more difficult to inspire adults with hope is the amount of scepticism and the disillusionment from negative, despondent people that you will often encounter. It is more difficult, but it is not all bad. It forces you to dig deeper to determine your position in the face of challenges. What is it really that gives you hope and what is the hopeful vision that you honestly believe in? To inspire people with hope you need to be credible and your credibility lies primarily in how authentic and convincing you are about the hope that lives in you. If you don’t have hope, you cannot lead. But to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of situations is also a choice as much as it is a gift, as faith is also a choice as much as it is a gift.

Leadership and a positive climate

To the degree that you can inspire hope you, as a leader, create a positive climate in the workplace that incidentally accounts for 20% to 30% of business performance according to studies. You know climate by what you experience as you walk into an office. Too often it is a dull, lifeless, low-energy, going-through-the-motions atmosphere. An inspirational word that puts negative news into perspective or a vision that inspires hope can change that. It is not always how you feel, but it is always about what you believe. If you talk and live in accordance with a positive set of beliefs and convictions, positive feelings follow. If you bring meaning with what you say, people respond positively and the climate changes for the better.

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Carl W. Buechne

Author : Dr Gerhard van Rensburg