You Got to Have Grit!
How many of you have been told you need to know your leadership style? Or, better yet, how many have spent hours taking assessments to learn what "style" of leader you are? I have. Depending on who you read there are between 5 and 8 common leadership styles. A quick Google search on "leadership styles" returns 387,000,000 related articles. Most of these articles (at least on the first 3 result pages) centers on two things: discovering your style and how to implement that style.
What I am learning is none of us - certainly not me - possess the qualities and characteristics to be one style of leader. Depending on the day and the context, most of us apply certain leadership practices that get us to a desired result. One article entitled, The 5 Leadership Styles You Can Use lists "transformational" as a style. However, those who have studied transformational leadership understand it is not necessarily a style but a type of leadership on a range of leadership practices.
So, I am suggesting that instead of focusing on a "style" we focus on a set of qualities to develop that will empower us to navigate leadership in any context or situation. This week we'll focus on the first quality leaders should develop: grit.
GRIT: Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Perseverance and Passion insists "one personal quality shared by prominent leaders in all fields [is] grit." But what is grit? Leaders with grit are courageous willing to take risks and manage the results. Gritty leaders focus on follow-through and take a long-term perspective. They understand leadership is a about the long-haul where small advances lead to the big goal. "Grit," says Duckworth, "is living a life like it's a marathon, not a sprint."
Let's put it this way, leaders with grit are resilient! They face the challenges of leadership with realistic optimism, have confidence in their team and own abilities, and know that creativity is the ultimate value of a leader. Beth Moore summarizes this well, "God honors a beautiful blend of gift and grit!" God gifts people for leadership but leaders who last and make impact are those who stay. In good times. In bad times. In prosperity and want - they stay. They have the tough conversations, make the tough decisions, let some people go, and relentlessly seek to honor God in all they do.
As Sherry and I prepare to enter the mission field of Uganda, we do so knowing there will be difficulties. Of what type and intensity we are unsure. We also know that making the decision to face those difficulties begins before we get there. Grit is not developed in pleasant pastures. Grit is developed in the crucible of adversity. Walt Disney put it best, "The difference between winning and losing is most often, not quitting."
Let me encourage you today - if God has called you to it, then He will keep you in it. Perseverance will produce in us an unshakable character that will give us and those we lead hope. Next week we'll look at the second quality to develop - grace.