Man climbing a mountain showing grit

How Do Great Leaders Develop Grit?

In an article by the best selling author and keynote speaker Jon Gordon, he characterized leaders as bearers of strong grit which made most of them successful in their respective fields. Talent, title, wealth, or appearance are not in themselves determinants of success, but grit can be.

According to Angela Duckworth, grit is the ability to work hard for a long period of time to achieve long term goals and persevere despite the challenges, failures, rejection and adversity. Grit acts like a driving force for someone to not give up and quit. It fuels someone’s capacity to overcome obstacles and keep moving forward.

According to Gordon, “Success doesn’t happen overnight. Anything worthwhile takes time to build. Along the way, a leader will face countless challenges, failures, and setbacks that will become roadblocks unless they find a way forward. Positive leaders have grit and find a way to navigate the roadblocks or run through them to move closer to their vision and goal.”

It is important that a leader knows the importance of passion and perseverance. It both improves their leadership and enables them to motivate their team, and helps to build a gritty organisation. But how do leaders do it?

Here are five key ways to develop grit as a leader:

  • Know what you want to achieve. Set your goals and know which path you would want to take. When you already have a bigger picture of what long term goal you want to achieve, you will work hard and persevere to attain that.
  • Understand your purpose. This answers the question of WHY: why do you want to achieve such a goal? This purpose doesn’t just fuel positivity but it also holistically drives your grit. When you know and understand your purpose, you will not let anything come in your way to succeed.
  • Love what you’re doing. Passion and perseverance are the two important components of grit. Loving what you do best can help you overcome all the obstacles so you could keep on doing it and achieve your goals. Gordon added that “The love and grit that you possess on the inside will create the life you experience on the outside.”
  • Accept failures. Positive leadership and grit entail knowing and accepting that you will fail sometimes. However, do not treat it as a hindrance but rather an opportunity for growth, to learn, rebuild your character, and try again. Remember, having grit means moving forward after a failure.
  • Assume criticism. Regardless of what you are doing you will get criticism,it is a societal norm. A positive leader doesn’t work for praise, recognition, or acceptance from everyone. They lead because they want to build, create, transform, and induce change. But as a positive leader with grit, you have to believe that you can overcome it and continue with what you’re doing best to succeed.

Developing grit takes a lot of ongoing work, but as a leader it is key that you set an example for your team. To help build up a gritty organisation you must develop it from the top down, and when having grit helps you in a leadership position, why wouldn’t you?

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