This may not outwardly sound very optimistic of me, but I have been very careful lately not to use the word hope very much when it comes to things I want. Let me explain.
The other day, my wife and I felt like having some Chinese food. We were both craving some General Tso’s Chicken and Crab Rangoon. So, we sat and we hoped. We hoped and wished. We wished and prayed… yet the food never came. Only when I picked up the car keys and drove to the restaurant was I able to fulfill our craving.
Strange example? Perhaps. But many leaders take the same approach to leading their teams. I hate to say it but I hear this all the time, “we’re going to have a meeting about some of the issues our employees are having. Hopefully the right people will get the message.”
I probably don’t have to ask this next question, but I will. Do you think the right people got the message? Say it with me: NO! Indirect messages that we HOPE will hit the mark are no match for candid, timely and respectful feedback to the individual. This may be a tough conversation to have, but doing it this way you are more likely to change a behavior for the better. Why take the chance that the one person who really needs the feedback is not even listening because they don’t think it pertains to them?
Hope is a great thing for some areas of our lives. When it comes to leading our teams (or getting Chinese food), it unfortunately lacks the action needed to get things done. When you no longer say, “I hope their behavior improves”, you start saying, “what can I do to make sure their behavior improves?”
That’s taking chance out of the equation and putting yourself in the drivers’ seat. What’s more optimistic than that?
Thanks for reading!