Pondering the Role of Hope in Leadership

Authors: Robert H. BUCKHAM and Karen E. NORUM
Published in: Vol.7 / 2006

      “Hope” is viewed from diverse perspectives. It has been described as a trait, cognitive process, state of being, and less frequently as a socially constructed phenomenon. “Leadership” too has alternative and sometimes competing definitions. However, “command and control” leadership definitions are slowly being displaced with life-sustaining and life-affirming models (Madsen & Hammond, 2005, p. 72).
      When leadership is viewed as the work of creating a space where the best of one another is brought out (Norum, 2006; Madsen & Hammond, 2005), hope plays a transforming and action inducing role. We explore hope as something that is socially constructed by people through dialogue.
      We also share our observations of hope in action in other cultures. Hope has a primary role in the work of leadership. When hope is viewed as a social construction the conditions for it to surface must be fostered. This is the work of leadership and takes place on multiple levels in manifold ways.
      Not the work of only those called leaders, leadership and the nurturing of hope is the work of anyone who envisions a better individual or collective future. As we continue to ponder the integration of hope and leadership theory, we need to understand the linkage and its transformational capacities.