Volume 128, December 2013: Hope

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, 2013 ISSN # 1545-8873

“It is from numberless acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert Kennedy’s 1966 speech at the University of Cape Town, South Africa

Hope is an optimistic view of the future. Its opposite, cynicism, is the offspring of “dashed hopes.” At one time, there was a dream and it has crumbled. There is a second component to cynicism: the loss of self-efficacy or “the ability to cause something to happen.” Cynics have lost their sense of power to change things, and thus they perceive a helplessness that goes along with their hopelessness. They believe they have no choices. The lack of hope is utterly destructive to individuals and organizations.

The leader’s challenge is to bolster hope or at least try to rekindle it. Leaders build hope when they set high standards and believe in people’s capability to achieve them. They give reinforcing feedback and publicly recognize accomplishments. They are there to celebrate successes and failures. They train, support, and coach people to exceed their capabilities. They lead with inclusiveness. They provide choices.

And they model the way – providing a living example of optimism and hope, painting word pictures of future success together. Read Kouzes and Posner’s Encouraging the Heart (2003). Keep hope alive.

Practice Point

Counter negativism and sarcasm with an ear for the truth and an eye to the future. Paint a future that will enliven hopes and dreams. Let people know how important their role is in that future, and therefore, how important they are.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of Me.

– Emily Dickinson


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