By Ari Zoldan
CREDIT: Getty Images
Maintaining your chutzpah and grit is essential for all leaders.
Hustle, passion, creativity and vision are among the many words you hear founders use when speaking to qualities that have made them successful. One of the qualities we don’t hear enough about is grit. Having the courage, audacity and chutzpah to learn from your failures, even in the face of adversity to find a path to success.
As a founder and entrepreneur, you’re going to get many “nos” as you pitch your first investor, partner, client or employee, while still building your business and experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. Maintaining your chutzpah and grit is essential.
Grit isn’t about luck, talent or positive thinking, but having deeper goals and values that gives meaning to your work, and fighting to attain those goals. At the end of the day, the majority of entrepreneurs who start a business and grow it successfully, demonstrate high levels of grit. And they in turn instill those same values and work ethic in the team around them. Through grit, we find the focus and fire to keep battling for what we collectively want to achieve.
Here are five things entrepreneurs can do to build and embrace grit across their team:
1. Develop focus and perseverance.
According to best-selling author Angela Duckworth, grit is “passion and perseverance for long-term goals” and “working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it.”
Often one of the biggest inhibitors to success is lack of focus and constant multitasking. Finding grit as entrepreneur or a team not only requires effort, but also focus and commitment to make progress toward your larger goals regardless of the challenges.
2. Embrace your time in the trenches.
Spending time working and learning “in the trenches” is one of the defining characteristics of leaders or teammates with grit. To succeed as a founder or business owner, you not only have to lead by example, but set the example with your team.
Often there can be gaps between ideas as imagined by the team and reality of executing those programs as they’re actually implemented. By spending time executing alongside your team and managing challenges directly with customers or clients, you build resilience and strength across your team.
3. Reward initiative and show gratitude.
Embracing grit as a part of your culture starts with rewarding initiative and showing gratitude.
“Grit is one of our core values,” shares Fjuri CEO Thom Gruhler, former CMO of Microsoft Windows. “We look for people who willing to experiment and take risks, while also being transparent about the challenges they face. Time and time again, I see employees who step up and accomplish something they themselves didn’t know they were capable of, which helps to move the entire company forward.”
4. Openly share failures and lessons learned.
Rather than seeking solace when they fail, people who have grit look for ways to learn from their mistakes to avoid repeating them.
“Leaders with grit use failure as an opportunity and stepping stone to stretch further,” shares Gruhler. “You have to believe in yourself, your team and their ideas. You have to know what you’re striving for and that sticking with it will eventually produce the results you want — but only if you don’t give up.”
Our ability to find grit even in the face of obstacles isn’t easy. Part of of winning in business is about learn how to overcome your immediate or default reactions to set backs, while also taking an open approach to problem solving, sharing key learnings with the team around you.
5. Identify and avoid a fear based culture.
Nothing will kill grit and chutzpah faster than letting a fear of failure define and impact your culture. People who are afraid, who are unwilling to take risks and admit that they’ve failed, are unable to learn from their failures.
“You can help your team develop grit by recognizing when someone’s operating from a place of fear and helping them overcome it,” notes Gruhler. “Push them and show them that you believe in their idea, empower them to test it, improve it and learn from it, and you will build confidence and momentum in your most precious resource.”
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