The title of this post, 10 Signs Of Highly Successful Leaders With Grit, is misleading.  Because you cannot have success without grit.  It is inherent in successful leaders.

Angela Duckworth in her excellent book Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance says, “Talent x Effort = Skill.  Skill x Effort = Achievement.”  L. Jon Wertheim in the July 24th of Sports Illustrated noted, “For all the gushing – not wrongly – about grace, it’s often another one-syllable gr word that is just as responsible for success: grit.  We fix our gave on the bells and whistles of talent, not the effort to extract it.  We’re so seduced by the outcome that it distracts us from admiring the process.  Grit is the real engine of greatness.  Grit balances elegance and lavishness.  Grit is what enables the winner to alchemize their native gifts into results.”

As I continued reading Wertheim’s article on Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, I gleaned the following 10 Signs Of Highly Successful Leaders With Grit:

  1. Gritty leaders refuse to give up.
  2. Gritty leaders are patient.  They are steady and methodical.
  3. Duckworth adds, “[Grit] is a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal.”
  4. Gritty leaders are continual learners.  Federer constantly retreats to his basement where he experiments with new techniques and equipment.
  5. Gritty leaders are often absent of drama.  Federer’s coach Paul Annacone said, “He doesn’t let the emotion of the moment, pro or con, sway him.  He has this incredibly short memory.  What just happened doesn’t matter.  Roger hits an incredible shot – or he makes a mistake.  Doesn’t matter.  He just moves on without a huge, amount of emotion and just plays the next point.”
  6. Gritty leaders make the necessary sacrifices needed for success.  For example, Federer has chosen to forego activities such as skiing because of the potential of injuries.
  7. Gritty leaders has a relentless work ethic.  Similar to most top flight athletes, Federer maintains an exhaustive practice and workout schedule.
  8. Gritty leaders have more sustained success than others.  This was the 36-year-old Federer’s eighth Wimbledon championship and 19th major title.  In fact, there was a 14-year span between his first and eighth championships.  Federer said, “Honestly, I’m incredibly surprised how well this year is going, how well I’m feeling, how I’m managing tougher situations, where my level of play is on a daily basis.”
  9. Gritty leaders are fueled by a love of what they do.  37-year-old Venus Williams said, “I love what I do.  I still like the challenge of being better today than I was yesterday.”
  10. Gritty leaders do not solely rely on their talent.  Federer concluded by saying, “Yes, I was blessed with a lot of talent.  But I also had to work for it.  Talent only gets you that far.”

What is one thing you can implement from this list which will make you a more gritty leader?


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