4G Leadership: Got Grit?

3 quick jolts of leadership insight

I see effective leaders as having four key characteristics: grit, grace, gravitas, and gratitude. Let's talk about grit. Grit is about being able to stay the course despite setbacks and obstacles. Do you have what it takes to lead for the long haul? Some research says that grit is a better predictor of success than IQ or EQ. So how do you know if you have it?

You have grit if ...

  1. You are resilient - Resilience is a dynamic combination of optimism, creativity, and confidence. You know failure is part of the equation on the way to success; you learn your lessons, brush yourself off, and start again.
  2. You delay gratification - Have you ever heard of the marshmallow experiment? In these studies, a child was offered a choice between one small reward provided immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a short period, approximately 15 minutes. In follow-up studies, researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index (BMI), and other life measures.
  3. You face your fear - FDR once said, "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear." It can be fear of failure, it can be fear of bodily harm or discomfort, it can be fear of looking foolish. If you've got grit, you know there are valuable lessons in what scares you and that the vulnerability of perseverance is requisite for high achievement.

Interested in learning more about grit? Angela Duckworth is the current voice of grit as seen in this TED talk and has a book due out this spring. Some more of my thoughts on grit can be found here.


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