Is Grit a Vital Leadership Quality?
Several months ago I read Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance by Angela Lee Duckworth, Ph.D. and a MacArthur Fellow. She’d previously given a Ted Talk on the subject. Her theory is that grit is a predictor of academic and professional success. And to me, grit is a vital leadership quality.
What is grit?
According to Merriam-Webster, grit is firmness of mind or spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger. Sounds like many small business owners I know, who have the resolve to press ahead despite setbacks and challenges.
A Time article several years ago listed four ways to know if you have grit:
- You have something you find enduringly fascinating.
- You view frustrations as a necessary part of the process.
- You look for ways to make your work more meaningful.
- You believe you can change and grow.
There are some people who naturally display the quality of grit. In school, they stuck with learning a sport even though they didn’t start out to be a star player. In college, they may not have had the highest IQ but continually performed well by putting in a lot of hard work. And in running a business, well…you know.
But even if grit doesn’t come naturally, there are some pointers to help you build it so you can more effectively lead your staff and run your business. A +Acumen Master Class on Building Grit, an on demand course running 3 hours, has 6 sections:
- An introduction to grit.
- The 1st building block of grit: uncovering your interests.
- The 2nd building block of grit: deliberate practice.
- The 3rd building block of grit: purpose.
- The 4th building block of grit: hope.
- Lessons on grit for social entrepreneurs.
As Walt Disney said: “The difference in winning and losing is most often not quitting.”
Having grit will get you through the challenges and setbacks of running a business and being an effective leader. Last month’s blog in this series concerned empathy. Next month’s blog on developing leadership qualities addresses openmindedness.