Who would have known that on my very first day working as an oncology nurse, I would receive the best piece of career advice. Like a permanent tattoo, this simple advice stayed in the front of my mind. Serving as my compass, it guided me through my entire career. It is what led me in helping my teams achieve their greatest potential. The advice was quite simple, “Above all else, just have hope.” There is NO greater gift that you can give than your presence in someone’s greatest time of need. Each experience is unique, yet remarkable and can easily alter your perspective around challenges you face. Suddenly, what seems impossible, pales in comparison to what someone else is now facing. You can’t put a price on hope, but people are destined for possibilities and hope is what drives us into action. You can’t buy it, but you can give it out liberally and receive it joyfully. One thing for certain in business, is that your people and your organization need hope. Hope breeds purpose. It offers life. It offers light in our darkest hour.
Hope is hard because it is invisible and requires full trust.
To have hope means that we must embrace the uncertainty of life, and trust that in the support of one another we will find strength. There is no playbook, no manual, just this thing called life.
Leaders, now more than ever, play an important role in choosing hope over despair. In modeling the way and creating the environment where through their lens, staff see optimism and positivity over hopelessness and negativity. Creating a culture that breeds optimism has it challenges. But one thing is for sure, hope has to follow action. I have been blessed over my nursing career to see hope in action. I’ve witnessed people conquer the unthinkable and in the face of hopelessness they rise up to overcome. I have seen the same with leading people. At the end of the day, people are people. They want to believe that their leaders have their back. Here are a few simple ways to express hope in your leadership:
- HOPE is “helpful, optimistic, positive encounters.” If you believe that your staff member can improve, and you provide the environment where they believe they can succeed, chances are they will. Are you helping others to thrive or to are you creating a culture where they merely survive?
- Hope requires others to trust in our actions and that they align with our values. As a leader you play a key role in walking the walk and not just talking the talk. Unless you were born with a “P” for perfect on your chest, get comfortable talking about your mistakes and failures. Maybe your gift of leadership was given to you to inspire others from your actions. Leading the way through humility and vulnerability, outwardly discussing mistakes, and focusing forward that everything is destined to be improved.
- The best way for leaders to connect with their staff is to use teachable moments. Nothing says I trust (and hope) you succeed than by sharing your own personal failures. Creating a culture where people can take risks, make a mistake and recover easily without unravelling like a cheap sweater reinforces the principle and value of hope.
- Above all else, never lose hope. Improving the culture of care model for our residents and their families is a sacred responsibility. When a family member places that responsibility of care into our hands, it is our obligation to provide them with hope. Hope that the level of care we provide meets the needs of their loved one. Hope that through our leadership we will inspire others to care deeply and without reservation. Hope that we will treat others the way we want our own loved one’s to be treated. All along hoping that others will follow our lead in helping to change our culture of care model for the benefit of our residents, their families and one another.
This article was written by Drive team member, Arleen Smith.
Arleen Smith is a Registered Nurse in the State of NJ and a Leadership & Engagement Consultant at Drive. Her recipe for success includes a passion for people, coupled with the ability to inspire teams on ways to achieve unlimited potential by focusing on positive outcomes. Building strong, trustful connective relationships and leading and teaching others about the importance of forming relationships first and supporting one another through acts of service. Arleen’s keynote is entitled “The Courage to Care” and focuses on reflections and stories about how a career in bedside nursing made her a better leader through optimism, passion and purpose.