Great Leaders Provide Hope

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“We’re going to make America great again!” This is the battle cry of newly elected president, Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter if you’re a republican, democrat, or an independent, the learning lesson here is that as a leader you need to be able to reach your followers and provide them with hope for the future. Now as a coach or business leader, you know the importance of having goals that are specific and measurable. While the above statement isn’t specific and it isn’t measurable, it does provide many people with the hope that change is coming and it will make their lives better. As with coaching, time will tell if this slogan pans out to make people’s lives better or if it is just a marketing ploy to get elected. Great leaders will provide both hope for the future and an action plan that leads to a successful future.

Certain coaching jobs are deemed better than other jobs for an incoming coach. This is typically based on resources and expectations. Programs that have more resources tend to have more success. And the programs that have great resources and are struggling to win provide the most upside potential. In this situation the followers are thirsty for a brighter future. They are hopeful for achieving the success the program had prior to their current fall on hard times. If the incoming coach can provide hope to the players, boosters, administrators, and recruits, they will receive more buy-in and support for transforming the future into the vision the coach or leader is presenting.

Conversely, if the leader doesn’t present a hopeful future, the followers won’t work as hard and they won’t be as committed to changing the future. The more talented recruits or employees will choose to play, or work for, the teams or organizations where the leader provides great hope for the future and provides a roadmap of how the organization will get to their destination of a successful future.

Providing hope and outlining an effective plan for achieving this hope, was one of the hallmarks that made Franklin Delano Roosevelt one of the most popular and successful presidents in the history of the United States. FDR was elected president in the early 1930’s and took office in 1933. What was unique about the United States in 1933 was that the U.S. was in the midst of a severe depression. The good news for Roosevelt was that there was nowhere to go but up. Almost any leader would have had some success by inheriting a situation where the institution was so far deflated. During this time unemployment soared around 25%, most of the banks in the country were closed, and the citizens of the United States had lost faith in their political leaders. But FDR strived for achieving more than just “some success”; he wanted the country to thrive.

Roosevelt began by creating the slogan “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” FDR continued in the coming weeks by holding fireside chats on the radio to create a country (followers) that was united in eliminating fear. He created massive new jobs by legalizing the manufacturing of beer and wine. The country also employed more people to help build the infrastructure of the U.S. He continued by making solid plans for homeowners, farmers, training programs, etc. You get the point. He painted a beautiful picture of what the future would provide for the citizens and then provided a solid plan that helped his people to achieve success. In other words, he provided hope, and he provided a solid plan with sound decisions on how the U.S. would achieve this better future.

So whether you inherit an unsuccessful program with great resources, a successful program that needs to continue their winning ways, or an organization somewhere in between, your number one goal needs to be for you to provide a vision of hope for the future. This hope, along with a solid plan of how to achieve this future, will help your people to buy into the team and organization. In turn, this buy-in will create an environment where your people are motivated to work hard to achieve the organization’s goals and to help make this perceived future a reality. It all begins with hope!