I have a number of really good friends still working and leading in the printing industry. Certain segments of that industry are extremely challenged by the continued momentum of digital communications. Printers of magazines, catalogs, or books have seen a steady decline in their market for many years now.

As a leader, if you are not intentional about giving your people a sense of hope, they can get extremely down on the prospects of their future.

Going through challenging times is not unique to the printing industry. Most everyone has seasons where sales are challenged and things seem difficult. I know a number of people at Caterpillar who are currently going through some significant challenges with the slowdown in China.

Servant leaders are not derailed by downward swings or challenging times. Instead they rise to the occasion and provide a sense of hope for their people. Hope shows up when people who care show up!

Servant leaders who care find the right balance of providing stability in the moment while giving people hope and inspiration for the future. People want to see how things will get better and what that future might look like.

Hope is a critical factor in all of our lives. It isn’t simply a happy feeling – it’s a human survival mechanism. Whatever talent or skill a person possesses, hope is the state of mind that helps navigate life’s twists and turns, and keeps you moving forward when times are tough.

Servant leaders inspire hope!

Ways to bring hope:

  • Be a truth teller – People appreciate and can handle the truth. They have a desire to know what they are up against. Don’t sugar coat reality.
  • Listen – Being tuned in to understand people’s concerns is critical to knowing what will bring them hope. Truly care enough about them to fully understand their feelings about the situation.
  • Provide a vision – With an understanding of current reality, provide a realistic, positive vision. Get out front and lead the team to a preferred future. This provides clarity and confidence.
  • Lead the formulation of a strategy – Work with the team to build a game plan with clear goals on how to achieve the vision. Getting people involved in this process will enhance attitudes and the probability of future success.
  • Always stay true to Purpose & Values – Never waiver from the foundation of the organization. This provides a sense of calm to the direction towards a better future.

Servant leadership is about making a difference in people’s lives. It’s about instilling and managing optimism with real opportunities that people believe they can achieve. What are you doing to establish hope within your sphere of influence?

Mark Deterding

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13