In GRIT, author and psychologist Angela Duckworth argued that it does not matter how talented you are, it takes perseverance, steely determination, “never give up” attitude, and hard work, and all-out effort to overcome obstacles in life and succeed. But the question is can you develop GRIT?
According to Bill Hybles, Yes, you can if you are willing to do what it takes; No you cannot if you want to be at ease.
If you are willing to do what it takes to develop this essential intangible of leadership, here are three practices Bill Hybles suggests you implement today to grow and develop grit:
1. Develop grit by overcoming physical challenges
Like the little engine that could, grit development demands difficulty. It demands that you pull the train cars of life over variously sized mountains so that when you get to the top after a massive output of efforts, you say on the backside of the mountain, “I thought I could!”
Overcoming difficult challenges sets you apart and gives you the confidence you need for your next mountain. Grit grows every time you prove to yourself that you can overcome an obstacle with tenacity and perseverance.
To grow and develop grit, you must assign yourself very difficult tasks and will yourself to task achievement. This is why most elite leaders push themselves physically in some way. For example:
- Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great is a serious rock climber
- Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, is an aggressive kite-border
- Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State, works out every morning
- Richard Branson, the CEO of VIrgin Airlines, is a serious windsurfer
- Tim Cook, Former CEO of Apple, works out every day, does not miss.
These leaders have discovered that overcoming physical challenges is one way to grow and develop grit.
2. Develop grit by volunteering for extra work assignments
Most elite leaders wound up in their current roles because of earlier in their careers, they volunteered for extra work assignments and then they demonstrate a steely determination in carrying them out.
Former Chairman of General Electric, Jack Welch is fond of saying to young professionals, “when your supervisor gives you an assignment, whatever you do, don’t just deliver the required results, … don’t just deliver, overdeliver! And overdeliver every time.” Be gritty.
3. Develop grit by hanging around gritty people
Read biographies of people who had it or hang around people who have it because some of it can rub off.
Benefits of grit to your organization
When you, as a leader, demonstrate grittiness in your day-to-day leadership. When you push yourself hard to overcome obstacles and overdeliver in your own contributions, your teammates and followers will notice and they will develop an appetite for more grit in themselves, they start to push themselves to the next level and eventually the whole organization gets grittier and gritty organizations are unstoppable.
If you care about achieving your life goals and organizational vision, you simply must develop and demonstrate grit because it is an absolutely essential intangible of leadership.