In her best selling book Grit, Angela Duckworth writes, “as much as talent counts, effort counts twice.” As business leaders, we tend to prioritize talent over potential to an extreme degree, both in others and in ourselves. However, most people have the one tool they need to become skilled in their area of choice, regardless of whether they are naturally talented. This tool is called “grit.”
What is grit, and why is it important?
The two main components of grit are passion and perseverance. Think about professional athletes: they weren’t born with the ability to excel in their chosen sport. They achieved greatness through a love of the game, a refusal to quit, and a dedication to perfection. Grit, as an entrepreneur, is no different.
When it comes to employees, talent is overrated—grit is more important. Hard workers can easily beat the naturally gifted if they’re willing to put in the effort. As leaders, we should reward and encourage this kind of hard work and dedication rather than focusing solely on the employees who have a natural talent for a specific skill.
Effort + skill development = results. Anyone can become exceptional at their job if they consistently work at it. This is the kind of attitude we should cultivate in our employees and ourselves. Grit, as an entrepreneur, can help you excel.
Developing Grit as an Entrepreneur
As a business leader, chances are there are any number of areas in which your skills are lacking. No high-level employee is an expert in finances, marketing, and sales all at once. However, you must develop your skills in these uncomfortable areas to survive and prosper. Here are four ways to encourage grit in yourself and your employees.
- Make it clear that grit is a priority. Explain to your employees what grit means to you and reward appropriate behavior when you see it. Acknowledge when an employee is working hard to learn a new skill or is dedicated to their improvement.
- Model the grit you want to see. In some cases, you might have to “fake it till you make it.” You might not feel like you’re making progress towards your goals, but if you are dedicated, that progress will naturally occur. Grit, as an entrepreneur, is an ever-evolving process.
- Don’t punish failure. As in any endeavor, there will be setbacks. Improvement can only happen over time, and while you and your employees are learning, you’re bound to make mistakes. Frame these as a learning opportunity and reward employees who take their lessons to heart.
- Track your progress. Establish a method for yourself and your employees to measure your success, whether that means evaluating your metrics over time or having weekly check-ins to talk about your wins. Celebrate these successes as a team.
Can grit be developed? I certainly believe so, and talking to an experienced business coach can help you get there faster. Fill out my contact form to schedule a complimentary coaching session, and we can work on developing your leadership skills together. The importance of grit as an entrepreneur, both in yourself and in your employees, cannot be overstated. By the way, I highly recommend that you read the book Grit, by Angela Duckworth.