For most people, there’s this idea that leadership is an intrinsic trait, an ability to guide and lead that comes from nowhere else but our genes. In her book, Grit, Angela Lee Duckworth explains why the most talented students, the naturals, those who were born with it, often end up falling short in comparison to those who spend long hours of deliberate practice, what she calls “grit”.
Her research on the subject provides a solid answer to the eternal question of whether leaders are born or made.
The answer: It really doesn’t matter.
The great leaders through history were no different than you and me. They weren’t necessarily special. Nor were they born with something extra by choosing their parents well!
If you want to be a leader, you don’t have to be a natural. Leadership coaching and education are here to show you that leadership is less of a right and more of something you can reach with consistency. The secret is having the right coach to guide you through.
What is Grit?
Grit is a combination of motivation, perseverance and passion. A solid drive to achieve long-term goals that maintain itself as time goes by. Individuals with grit are considered high-achieving individuals even when they may or may not have the necessary skills at first. It is persistence and deliberate practice that makes them grittier.
In fact, Duckworth found that those who are compelled to put in that extra effort tend to end up being more successful than their natural counterparts. The dedication and perseverance that they put into their learning translate into a more prepared kind of leader with a wider perspective and clearer vision.
Deliberate Practice and Leadership Coaching
Practicing mindlessly for long hours won’t turn you into a leader. The thousand-hours-rule to develop any skill is meaningless if you’re just going over the same mistakes all over again, especially when you don’t know which areas to improve.
As an aspiring leader, you could benefit from a leadership coach that teaches you exactly which aspects you should be focusing on in order to become a great leader. However, it’s better to spend an hour trying to grasp a concept you’re struggling with than spending ten hours doing something you’re already good at.
Example: A guitarist realizes he’s having a hard time learning a song. At first, he goes over the same passage over and over again but there’s still something that doesn’t sound quite right. He carefully reviews the song once again and notices a small detail with the way he’s pressing one of the frets, he then proceeds to practice one hour this little detail until it finally sounds right. Deliberate practice is all about the details.
Grit and Young Leaders
When you’re just starting, it’s easy to feel demotivated by naturals. Everyone loves a natural; everything looks so effortlessly done when they’re in charge. You can’t help but wonder how is it that they do it and why you have to try so hard to stay on top. The truth is, even naturals struggle from time to time and they have to spend countless hours growing and learning, and possibly, being coached too.
But this is where you have the upper hand; most naturals have a tendency to become overconfident. They are used to things going right for them – with little to no effort. You, on the contrary, have learned that everything requires an extra push. That push could be hours of study or waking up just a bit earlier – whatever it is, you know things won’t come free of charge.
Why am I telling you this?
If you’re a young and aspiring leader, grit is a wonderful concept. Whether you’re a natural or not, when you’re young you have the chance to learn and cultivate your leadership traits. Also, young people possess more resilience in the face of failure; they have the optimism, creativity and confidence to raise their chins up and keep moving on after falling to the ground.
Time is on your side and the best way to invest it is being curious, gaining knowledge, involving yourself in multiple projects. Seeking the guidance of a leadership coach can help you with the know-how.
Coaching Takes Determination to the Next Level
Having walked the path of young manager to leader, Chris Gossard knows how hard work and persistence pays off – both on the playing field and in the office. Not a natural athlete, he’s worked hard to become a top age group cyclist. In the business world, Chris progressed from supervisor to a top executive in a Fortune 500 company by taking the non-traditional route. He put his hand up and asked for challenging opportunities when others wouldn’t.
If you want someone with a great deal of experience and the knowledge you need to help find your path to success, contact Chris today for a free initial consultation.