The rigors of today’s competitive business climate push even the most seasoned leaders to their limits. No organization is immune to setbacks. Many top business leaders agree that life is a constant string of adversities—the new normal. Some, however, are ill-suited for it and pay a dear price
Leaders achieve success through their talent, intelligence, flexibility and wisdom. Those who overcome the odds often point to an even more powerful trait: perseverance. Many of today’s top captains of commerce believe it’s the key to winning the race—more important than skill, more vital than past experience, notes management consultant Steve Tobak in What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur? Perseverance (Entrepreneur.com, January 25, 2016).
But what about leaders who lack the necessary stamina? What happens to those who don’t know how they’re going to manage, day in and day out, under the heaviest of loads? Are they simply destined to fail in a cruel world?
The answer is no, according to Dr. Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (Scribner, 2016). Perseverance can be developed from within. If you’re a leader who’s gained a foothold on stamina, you can forge a culture with it.
There are myriad business success stories about leaders who had a persevering spirit and led their companies through crisis, bankruptcy or startup hardship. Steve Jobs and Lee Iacocca had the stamina to save Apple and Chrysler, respectively, from bankruptcy. Jeff Bezos endured the long startup struggle at Amazon. Dan Hesse led Sprint out of the gaping jaws of killer competitors. Not all stories are this dramatic, but the principles of perseverance equally apply. Every company faces trials that call for persevering leaders.
The purpose-driven leader
Leaders who establish a purpose for their work experience a calling for what they do. They feel the need to contribute to something bigger than themselves. When their company improves because of their efforts, the results fulfill them. They benefit others, add value and enjoy the outcome.
Leaders driven by purpose don’t view failure as the larger culture does. Failure isn’t to be avoided at all costs, but is a part of learning, with no cause for fear. Perseverance is more attainable when setbacks have no effect on one’s calling. Circumstances may change, but a purpose-driven leader’s calling doesn’t.
Organizations become persevering machines that weather the strongest storms when leaders build relationships a
Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist & Executive Coach
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