Having been raised as a girl in the 50’s through 70’s, I learned to be polite, not to beat the guys at sports, to be a “good girl”. My role models were women who were coquettish and cute. Today, women have terrific female role models in those who have risen in their corporations, in politics, and as entrepreneurs. I was fortunate to have a mother that became a Vice President of Advertising. She had grit, and modeled it – but we never discussed what this was and how she used it. I never learned the secret to behaving with “grit.” What is it? Grit is an uncompromising commitment to performance excellence and strategic focus. How can a woman embody grit in her leadership behavior every day?
Here is the secret to behaving with grit:
Have a vision. Make it innovative, and be decisive about it. Vision is seeing possibilities and then building opportunities to make a meaningful difference with people, profits and performance. It also means operating with clarity and certainty that can eliminate confusion and hesitancy.
Have a strategic focus and be constructively persistent. Strategic focus is about seeing the longer-term big picture and the current priorities that will get you there. It is about using self-control to stay on track and transform the reactions that could derail you from your goal to effective action. It’s about facing and neutralizing negativity, and communicating clearly to others about what is most relevant to achievement.
Act with dedication, boldness, commitment and courage. Bring your passion and energy to all you pursue. It’s your spirit and vigor that will generate your power. When facing risks, rely on your strengths and take a courageous stand for what matters most.
Remain authentic, relying on your strength of character and a commitment to empowering others. This means being genuine. Your strength of character has its foundation in your values and integrity in action. Always share credit, power and acknowledge others for their contributions to you and the goals.
Be resilient and see the possibilities in the face of others’ resistance. There will always be obstacles and resistance from others. You wouldn’t be making a difference if people and things around you weren’t pushing back. Always look for the possibilities when faced with obstacles and opposition. Seek to understand others’ points of view and use your insights and empathy to melt resistance, including your own.
I wish someone had shared this with me when I was starting out in my career. We usually learn this through experience. How have you used grit?
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