Calling all leaders: Hope is not a strategy

5 steps to help you harness the hopes and dreams of students and staff

Hope is critical to greatness but not the strategy to achieve it. Hope is not wishful thinking—as in “I hope I win the lottery.” It is the core for developing pathways and thinking tactics (strategic planning). Hope is the belief that things can get better and is the foundation upon which motivation is built. As leaders, we need hopes and dreams and to encourage them for our staff, but we control how to turn hope into action and greatness. How can we do that?

One transformative relationship can change the life of a staff or student, which is why leaders are essential to harness hope and turn that into greatness. Students who are high in hope have greater academic success, stronger friendships, and demonstrate more creativity and better problem-solving. They also have lower levels of depression and anxiety and are less likely to drop out from school. As leaders we tend to focus on academics, but without students present—both physically and cognitively—we can’t teach the academics.

Hope is a critical first step for staff or students to identify goals and develop strategies. Those hopes and goals will turn into motivation through the support of staff and peers. Hope creates active engagement with learning. Learning becomes real, powerful, and useful. This is when hope turns into action.

So how do we harness the hopes and dreams of students and staff?

1. Break down goals (or hopes) into steps.
Goals do not have to be accomplished all at once; instead, visualize goals as steps. This will also give reasons to celebrate small successes along the way and keep motivation high.

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