Episode 217: Communicating with Hope

February 15, 2022

A leader’s relationship with hope begins with our relationship with Jesus.

If we’re resurrection people, and we are, our relationship with Jesus will guide all of our relationships. Today, we want to focus on why communicating with hope is a leadership imperative.

We’ll explore a speech from Martin Luther King Jr that you’ve likely heard, or at least heard quoted, and how we almost missed experiencing hope.

Then we’ll look at recent research around communication and leadership from Gallup. Most leaders appear to be failing at communicating, let alone communicating with hope.

Share Hope

It’s a leader’s responsibility to communicate with hope. The late Dr. Shane Lopez worked extensively with Gallup on the subject of hope said it best, “Hope matters. Hope is a choice. Hope can be learned. Hope can be shared with others.”

Inspiring hope is a leadership imperative and is becoming more important all the time. Perhaps that’s why Jackson told Dr. King to talk about his dream. People needed hope. Those words offer listeners, and even us today, a reason to hope.

What is your hope? Talk about it. Share it with others. Communicate with hope. 

Mentioned in this Episode

Episode 217


[00:00:00] Sara: Welcome to Leadercast episode 217.

[00:00:05] you're listening to leader cast, transforming missions podcast with Tim Bias and Sara Thomas. Providing you with resources to navigate the challenges and opportunities of courageous christ-centered leaders

[00:00:22] Tim: Well, you as a leader, your relationship with hope begins with your relationship with Jesus. If if we're really people of the resurrection and we are our relationship with Jesus will guide all of our relationships.

[00:00:40] Sara: Well, there's a big statement, Tim Bias. So, I guess today we're talking about a leader's relationship with hope. And so before we get into that conversation, let me remind you that you can find show notes for this episode@transformingmission.org forward slash 2 1

[00:01:01] seven

[00:01:03] Sara: and let me also remind you that on that show notes page, there is a link to the devotional that we are putting together that we would love for you to be.

[00:01:12] Called hope throughout the year. So head over to the show notes page, to learn more, both about what we mentioned on this episode and hope throughout the.

[00:01:23] Tim: Sara you're right. We're talking about a leader's relationship with hope, but that doesn't mean that leading with hope doesn't mean you're not truthful. Leading with hope doesn't mean that you don't get discouraged as a leader. But leading with hope does mean your leadership is based on a relationship with Christ situated in the community and with a specific congregation. That doesn't mean that you say the same thing to everyone, or even in the same way. So today we want to focus on why communicating with hope is a leadership imperative. But first a story . You remember last episode, we mentioned Martin Luther king. Well, one of the greatest inspirational speeches was a leadership narrative on. Is the one Martin Luther king gave on August 28th, 1963. You remember it took place during the March on Washington. You've heard parts of that speech. The most renowned part of that speech is I have a dream. The bottom line is the speech described his motivation, his vision, and contained a call to action. The galvanized a nation, a little known fact of that dream part was almost excluded. Sara, what was that part?

[00:02:52] Sara: Yeah. So as the history of that speech was written, now king included that I have a dream part of the speech in the earlier drafts of that speech. There were other people whose that it didn't have any significance. And so he was, he had cut it out. But during the speech, his friend and legendary gospel singer Mahayla Jackson called out, tell them about the dream Martin and part of what she understood as she looked out over a quarter of a million people gathered on the Lincoln Memorial.

[00:03:33] Was that Dr. King's dream was real and it was true. And it was able to motivate change in the way that the nation needed and that no other speech could, and she was right because the rest is history.

[00:03:52] Tim: Sara, would you say that leaders can learn something from that historic moment? In recent research, around communication and leading. Gallup found that most leaders appear to be failing at this kind of communication. With only 13% of, employees in the United States, strongly agree that the leadership of their organization communicates effectively with the rest of the organization. And, you know, using Gallup statistics, just 15% strongly agree, the leadership of their organization makes them feel enthusiastic about the future. Now let me, let's, let's go back and think of this, that the people and our workplaces do not feel that they have hope even in the work that they're doing. Is that what that.

[00:04:45] Sara: Yeah. That's exactly what they're. They're saying that the leaders were failing to communicate. With hope. So you might be thinking at this moment Sara and Tim, I know you said that we're focusing on hope throughout the year, but why does a leader need to have hope filled communication? And we're glad that you asked let's return to Dr.

[00:05:09] King's speech. He demonstrated in that speech, just how powerful a strategic and specific narrative can be. As it relates to motivating and engaging, engaging a greater population. Now that greater population for you might be a team of five other people. It might be an entire congregation. It might be your family.

[00:05:39] Whatever the context of engaging and relating to a greater population is for you go with it. What Dr. King was doing in that moment was creating and sharing hope. So as you think about being strategic in your leadership communication, Our encouragement to you this week is to lean into who God created you to be, to remember your own strengths, to remember your own stories and the narratives that you have lived out.

[00:06:19] You have the unique, you built ability to invite engagement and inspire people like nobody else can because you're you. And there's only one you in short, you're uniquely designed to communicate hope.

[00:06:39] And you've heard me say this before. And so I'll say it again. Use your strengths. And we're going to talk about this more in the next episode, but some of you have the ability to visualize and see the future. Others of you have the ability to create discipline out of chaos. So whatever your most powerful assets are, use them.

[00:07:12] Tim: Sara May as I'm thinking about what we're talking about when you're stepping out to, to communicate hope as a leader, you don't always know the moment. That you're going to be the most impactful, but it's because you are focused and, and a person of hope that you're offering it at the times that it's needed the most.

[00:07:36] And it's like, you've said in the past, when you look back, you say, wow, I just didn't know. And, and that's part of what happened with the speech. One of my favorite stories about Martin Luther king is that he was graduating from Boston schools, theology with a PhD. I mean, he was ready to, to enter the ministry with his PhD.

[00:07:58] He was offered a position at Garrett theological seminary, one of our United Methodist seminaries in Chicago, and he thought about it and he turned it down. But the reason he turned it down wasn't because he wasn't prepared to be a teacher of theology. He turned it down because he said, God has created me to go back to the deep south and to address the issues of race and equality there. Now he had that much self-awareness about what he was to do, but the day he stood and gave this speech. I do not think he understood the impact until years later. If he had, he wouldn't have left out, I have a dream.

[00:08:50] Sara: Right. Right. And, and so what your story and the story that we shared about the, I have a dream speech, both point to Tim is that strategic and specific narrative. And I know that I have been guilty of this in leadership in my life. I get tired of saying the same thing, and yet I know. I know that people need to hear what we say multiple times.

[00:09:22] And just about the time that I am getting tired of saying it, most people are really hearing it for the first time. And so to think about, you know, what, what is it that you were trying to communicate and how can you uniquely. Do that through who God has created you to be. So part of why you hear me saying, go back to your strengths, look at, look at who you are, look at how God has wired.

[00:09:54] You look at what you do the best and that unique combination of strengths is that's part of how I'm wired is to look at what, what makes you unique and how God has created you. And then to help you do that in the best possible way. So that is always going to be a part of my narrative. It's just who it's, who I am.

[00:10:22] I can see things happening in, can see different people using their strengths in different ways and getting similar results. And that's a moment of celebration for me. As we think about this, we don't need to tell you all of the challenges of the times that we are living them. You're living them too.

[00:10:45] The pandemic challenges have made some of life's challenges. And some of the things that we experience as leaders seem really small and minuscule and insignificant. And then there are other challenges that seem to grow at an exponential rate. At all times, but especially in difficult times, I hope what you hear, Tim and I pointing to is leaders needing to communicate with hope.

[00:11:18] And again, I'm going to go back to that speech with Dr. King

[00:11:23] Tim: sure it was it was a disruptive time in this country. I mean, we, we had more than one assassination of government, of governmental leaders president uh, United States, Senator two leaders of two national leaders. Of civil rights were assassinated and killed. And but king before in the midst of all that was offering a direction of hope and, and, and, and it was a very, very difficult time, but yet he was a voice that people could listen to if they would listen.

[00:11:59] I think we've mentioned before that at the time he was living many people who would quote him today. Didn't have much to do with, and then One of the things that, that you've brought to me, Sara from, from Gallup are some of those great quotes that come from people that worked with Gallup.

[00:12:18] And one of them was from Dr. Shane Lopez. You want to go ahead with that? I mean, I, it, it's the quote that you brought to us, but it's really what we're talking about.

[00:12:30] Sara: Yeah. He, Shane Lopez worked extensively with Gallup on the subject of hope and, and he said it best. And we may have mentioned this quote at a different time. He said this, he said, hope matters. Hope is a choice. Hope can be learned. Hope can be shared with others. Share hope, share your hope. If you want people to commit to you, you have a responsibility to explain why they should.

[00:13:08] Tim: So inspiring hope is a leadership imperative is, and is becoming more important all the time. And as I think about Dr. King speech. I'm thinking that's why Jackson told king to talk about his dream. offered the listeners of that day and all through the year, since then. And even today it offered a reason to hope. That was great advice then, and still is so, so, so take the advice. So what I'm taking Sara at this point is people are actually drawn to what we talk about. So I'm going to talk to preachers here just for a moment. But when we stand in the pulpit and we talk about things negatively, don't be surprised when the people around you respond negative. If you're going to stand and, and, and real, I'm going to say it in these words, they're not nice. So I'm going to own them to begin with, if you're going to stand in bad mouth people, don't be surprised when somebody stands in bad mouse. You, now that works in a positive way, too. If you're going to stand and offer hope, don't be surprised when people say. Let's get going. Let's move toward hope. And that's what king was doing. That's what Jackson was doing. Martin. Tell them about the hope.

[00:14:39] Sara: Yeah, let me, so let me offer an example for people who aren't preachers. Most of you are probably on social media. Most of you have probably experienced negativity on social media. Most of you probably have unfollowed people who only post negative things on social media for that very reason. But I want to flip the script here and it's, this is, this is going to sound silly.

[00:15:15] It's a group of artists specifically around watercolor that I'm a part of online. And I can't tell you the number of times that people have commented in the group about how friendly and how kind the whole group is and how this group is one of. The most kind places that they have ever experienced on online.

[00:15:48] Now, part of me when I read things like that, I think about, gosh, if this is, this is the one of the kindest places, where are you hanging out? I won't go down that line of thought. What I will do is back up to when the person who leads this group starts eats of each of her tutorials. She starts with this phrase.

[00:16:13] I promise to be kind to myself.

[00:16:15] I promise not to compare my work and I promise to have fun. She repeats it every single time. And she does a weekly tutorial. Do you think that perhaps those words that she named. Are shaping how the group communicates and interacts with one another. I do. That is what she constantly goes back to the fact that I can sit here and repeat it just off the top of my head.

[00:16:49] It tells you I've probably watched too many of the tutorials. Yes. But it also tells you she's creating a. And that's what we're inviting you to do in this episode with the strengths and the gifts that God has given you help to create and shape a culture of hope. And you do that in and through your communication.

[00:17:12] So offer people a reason to hope. It's one of your best opportunities to make an impact as a leader.

[00:17:20] Tim: How can I add anything to that? That's wonderful.

[00:17:26] Sara: Remember, you can find show notes for this episode. And yes, I'll link to those tutorials that I was telling you about that. If you want to hear, hear it said you can, you can see that I'm not making it up.

[00:17:40] Let me remind you that you can find show notes for this episode@transformingmission.org forward slash 2 1 7. And remember who you are is how you lead bye for now.