Building Leadership Grit
In the last few years I’ve become more sensitive to the impact that loss has on individuals. Regardless of reason, whether war, depression, economics, death, illness or the other myriad of maladies that plague the human condition, when we are hit with traumatic and unexpected tough events, what is it that wells up and enables us not only to survive and push forward, but to deliberately dig in and see things through? Psychological resilience is deemed the ability to positively cope with stress and adversity, and it is believed to be more of a process than a trait. I’ll call this Leadership Grit. How does one grow resilience/grit, preserve and infuse it in others? Is it possible to equip others with the “true grit” needed to keep trying new things; to stay in the game and keep trying until the game is over? One cannot borrow another’s grit any more than you can borrow their integrity. You have to have your own. So where does it come from and how can you develop more of it as a resource for the very thing most human beings dread—the unexpected.
It is now a fact that in addition to the nurture or nature debate in what shapes each individual, the bio-chemistry of our minds and our beliefs is foundational in shaping and molding our perspectives, skills and providing the resources we draw on to handle the big and little bumps in life. So what is the mindset that determines why one veteran may re-learn to walk after losing a leg and another won’t try? Or why one athlete gives up at halftime while another finds new determination to win? This has never been more important than now—when the world needs great leaders at all levels to help play wisely in the delicate economic, environmental and political balance of a truly global community.
Here are some topics to think about in regard to your personal resilience:
- Stories. What we tell ourselves in the midst of adversity and the stories we replay from our past both shape our expected outcomes from adversity. What stories from your past do you need to stop rehashing? What stories from your past can you leverage toward greater resilience.
- Self-Regard. How we assess our innate ability greatly influences positive outcomes. What is your core self-belief? That you are capable?
- Realistic Optimism. The degree of positivity present in our perception of ourselves, others and the world around us can be self-fulfilling. Are you glass half full?
- Connection. The ability to care for, be understood, and be united with others plays a role in our ability to reframe and to bounce back from adversity. Do you fly solo or are you deeply connected to at least a few people?
- Practice. The will to submit to whatever it takes to gain a new competency helps us endure initial hardships. Do you keep fighting or do your insecurities and/or perfectionism cause you to avoid things that you are less skilled at?