Leadership Blog – G is for Grit

G imageA skilled leader needs to demonstrate that he/she can stand up to others and tackle tough problems.  In our fast-moving world, this is not an easy task but it is necessary for a company to survive.  Also, it is important because if staff members do not have confidence in their leader, the organization will lack cohesiveness and they will lose their overall sense of purpose.

Several articles claim that grit can be learned but it seems that the authors feel this happens at a young age.  This is not true because we have seen recent incidents like the Boston Marathon where people overcame their handicaps and are still having successful lives.  However, we know other cases where people “gave up” and sunk into depression, etc.  Why is that?

So how does one be gritty?  When faced with a difficult challenge, one must not only be resilient but also develop an open mind to explore several options before finding the best solution.  The person also needs to recognize that they may make mistakes along the way, but this is part of the learning process.  There are also other factors to take into consideration which may stem from one’s childhood, but are more likely have developed in their adult years.

According to a 2013 Forbes article, “5 Characteristics Of Grit — How Many Do You Have?“, the author states the obvious in that people who are gritty are resilient, goal-oriented, and courageous.  Another characteristic that is interesting is that these people are also “achievement oriented versus dependable”.  The former is the type of person who gets the job done and will work tirelessly to do that.  The latter is self-controlled and conventional.  The last characteristic is that these people strive for excellence versus perfection.  I do feel that if someone considers themselves a perfectionist, they don’t really accomplish much because they spend too much time trying to make it perfect when that is not even necessary. I also feel many perfectionists are insecure and lack the confidence to take action and realize that OK is sometimes good enough.

Think about the last challenge you had to face.  Did you show grit?  If not, review the five characteristics listed above and determine what areas you need to work on.

Other “G” words to ponder – gutsy, giving, global, grow, and guide