Hope, Anxiety, and Leadership: How Being Aware of Hope and Anxiety on Your Team Can Make You a Better Leader

August 13, 2020  |  Posted by in Leadership Development, Sales Planning

I recently read an article about how feelings of anxiety and hope can drive product adoption. The article stated that consumers experience different levels of hope and anxiety when it comes to trying out a new product. Consumers may be hopeful that the product will solve a problem for which they’ve long been suffering, and they may be anxious and unsure of whether the product will have the desired effect. According to the article, research shows that product adoption is enhanced when consumers are both fervently hopeful and anxious at the same time. Why do coinciding feelings of hope and anxiety enhance product adoption? Because hope and anxiety serve as motivators to engage in action planning.

This makes sense. Think of times when you’ve felt hopeful. As an example, let’s say it was when you were in the market for a new home that would support your growing family. In this situation, perhaps you were hopeful about the memories your family would make in the home, and you likely started engaging in some sort of planning—like what renovations could be made to better suit your family. Likewise, think of a time when you’ve felt anxious. Using the same example, maybe you were anxious when it came to financing for the home purchase. Being anxious about financing likely led to action planning, perhaps with a financial advisor.

As a sales leader, I immediately applied this concept to leadership. The people and teams we lead are likely going through varying levels of anxiety and hope right now. They may be simultaneously anxious and hopeful when thinking about what comes next. If it’s true that people start planning when confronted with feelings of hopefulness and anxiousness, then it’s even more imperative that as their leaders, we offer our time to help them plan for what’s next. Especially when it comes to hopefulness or anxiousness they’re experiencing in their job, it’s up to us to assist them in creating an action plan to address those concerns and ultimately achieve their goals.

Leaders: take time this week to help your people plan. If they’re anxious and/or hopeful (it’s safe to say there are very few these days who aren’t), then they’re likely already engaging in some sort of planning by themselves. Offering to help them plan not only builds upon the relationship you have with them and establishes trust, but it also ensures their plans are aligned with your goals for the team as a whole.

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