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Grit: Why Great Leaders Have It and You Need It

A monstrously popular post over on has the must-read title, Nine Things Successful People Do. I'll run down the list for you momentarily, but No. 6 caught my eye.
"Have grit. Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime, and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee."
I've always thought that successful people are persistent -- but gritty? Is there a meaningful distinction that managers can learn from? Nope. Grit, persistence, whatever you call it, is more than just working hard. It's the drive to complete the work you believe in, month after month, year after year, defeating all obstacles as they come. Essentially a gritty person wears down all in her way to accomplish what she needs to accomplish.

OK, so here are the nine qualities of great leaders. Read the post for more details and tips on how to achieve them.

  1. Get specific.
  2. Seize the moment to act on your goals.
  3. Know exactly how far you have left to go.
  4. Be a realistic optimist
  5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good.
  6. Have grit.
  7. Build your willpower muscle.
  8. Don't tempt fate.
  9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won't do.
Recommended Reading (photo by Flickr user woofiegrrl, CC 2.0)