The Importance of Leadership Grit

The Importance of Leadership Grit
October 22, 2018 Linda Murray

Do you know what qualities are shared by the best performers? While effectively managing your emotions, energy levels and stress all play a part in strengthening your flexibility and endurance, passion and perseverance are equally important.

To perform at the highest levels, on a regular basis, you need more than just talent, experience, and resilience; you must also have grit.

Defining grit

Combined, these two traits create a quality that psychologist and character development researcher Dr. Angela Duckworth defines as, “grit.”

Grit is the ability to focus and work to your goal over a long period of time, despite obstacles or competing interests. Like other traits, grit is a quality that’s shaped by our experiences and strengthened with practice.

The most successful leaders are not only “gritty,” themselves, but they can transmit this quality to their teams. When leaders perform at their optimum level, they push themselves and their teams to stretch beyond their comfort zone and take greater risks and face greater challenges.

While there is a risk of failure, the opportunities to grow and excel are also greater and more meaningful at this level of performance. Rather than serving as a deterrence, the potential for failure spurs on high performing leaders and their teams.

Developing Grit

Creating a culture of grit in your organisation will stimulate creativity and growth and improve performance. Use the following tips to develop passion and perseverance in yourself and your team!

Give Your Team a Sense of Purpose by Sharing Your Passion

If you want your people to embrace risk and attempt new things, you must first inspire them. Share your vision of what you hope to achieve to give their work meaning and fill them with a sense of shared purpose.  Help each member of your team to see how their specific tasks and goals advance your mission forward and bring each of you one step closer to achieving the vision and fulfilling their purpose.

Set High Standards

People tend to want to live up to expectations, rather than disappoint those who rely on them, so set the bar high, but not impossible to reach. Make certain that you are walking your talk and holding yourself accountable to the same standards that you set for your team.

Once you’ve clearly defined a goal and the standards that you expect your team to follow, give them the autonomy to define how the work will get done. Get out of your team’s way and avoid the temptation to micromanage. Let your people surprise you with their ingenuity and commitment. Give them the freedom to experiment and try new ways of thinking and doing things. When they succeed, praise, recognise and reward them. When they fail, encourage them to learn from their mistakes and to continue to challenge their assumptions.

Coach Your Team by Modeling True Grit

If you want to create a culture that supports the development of grit, model this behaviour to your team. Show them what grit looks like in practice! Step out of your own comfort zone and set high standards for yourself, embrace new challenges and take some risks!

Be your team’s champion and use your relationship with them to identify their unique needs and talents. Use this information to give them the guidance and gentle nudge that they need to expand their personal vision of what is possible for themselves. Encourage your team to never be satisfied, but to relentlessly pursue new, and more difficult challenges.

How gritty is your leadership style? Need help to get there? Get in touch today to learn more about how executive coaching can help you develop your grit and achieve the career that you’ve always wanted, by design!

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