How do you inspire hope when someone is really stuck?
Jason had all the signs and words of “stuck.”
“I can’t.” “No one will help.” “No options.”
He’d stopped trying to improve the situation and just tried to numb it.
His “sports ready” stance had withered to hunched and clenched. He still had an occasional “wish” for a miracle. But wishes without action are another side of hopeless.
And yet, from the outside looking in, we saw huge possibility, talent, and relationships worth leveraging. We yearned to help him adjust his lens to see new beginnings and inspire hope.
How do you inspire hope in someone like Jason?
7 Ways to Inspire Hope
Great leaders are ambassadors of possibility.
When tired eyes look your way, engage them in gentle challenges. Help them to realize more.
Here are 7 ways to inspire hope in your team:
1. Commit to Hope
What vision of the future do you communicate? Is it attractive? Does it call people to be their best selves? Is your vision worth the work, sweat, struggle, and perseverance?
Acknowledge reality. You don’t need to sugar-coat the truth – that erodes trust and hope. Start with reality and then move to hope: “Here’s where we are. Here’s what’s possible. And I know we can do it.”
2. Start with your own heart
Navigate your narratives and tap into your own stories. Where has hope transformed your life? Who gave you hope when you weren’t sure you could get there? Connect with what’s possible and remember those feelings of turnaround and triumph. You’ll provide that same passion in your connections with your team.
3. Ask possibility questions
Sit with them in the silence of consideration before narrowing to questions of what’s feasible. Hope is rooted in possibility. What can you do together? You may need to start with small steps and small wins to help someone regain their belief in themselves, their team, and you.
4. Discover stories of past success
If you’ve known the person for a while, what history can you call on to re-inspire? If they are new to you, perhaps ask them “In your career, what are you most proud of?” Find those positive feelings then connect them to potential actions.
5. Identify folks to crew the lifeboat
Who do they (and you) know who could help? Encourage the fortitude to ask for the help they need.
6. Open doors
Sure, they need to do the heavy lifting. But when your hands are full, it’s helpful when someone opens a door.
7. Commit to continuing support
Ensure that this is more than a one-time “pep talk.” Schedule the finish: when will you follow up? How? Make an appointment for both of you to check-in and take those next steps.
How do You Inspire Hope?
We would love to hear from you: how do you inspire hope and energize your forlorn team members?