True Grit: Do You Have It?

Linda Dulye's picture

TrueGritAs you might imagine, we enjoy reading about traits that make the best leaders and what sets successful people apart.

In a recent piece on the Harvard Business Review website, author Heidi Grant Halvorson lays out the "Nine Things Successful People Do Differently" and many of them can help leaders raise their game.

One of the nine stood out for us because, in our experience, it is an overlooked dimension of exceptional leaders. And that trait is called "grit."

Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime, and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The good news is, if you aren't particularly gritty now, there is something you can do about it. People who lack grit more often than not believe that they just don't have the innate abilities successful people have. If that describes your own thinking ... well, there's no way to put this nicely: you are wrong. As I mentioned earlier, effort, planning, persistence, and good strategies are what it really takes to succeed. Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.

Grittiness can be contagious, too. Leaders that display it can provide an outstanding example for their colleagues and direct reports.

Of course, you don't have to embody the "true grit" of John Wayne or Jeff Bridges in a major motion picture to be considered a powerful leader.

But as you're considering your career growth don't be afraid to ask yourself: How gritty am I?


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