There are times when I feel tired or discouraged, or that I don’t have what it takes. When I feel as though I cannot persevere I often turn to historical figures who did persevere for the greater good of others –the suffragettes, civil rights crusaders, early pioneers or my great-grandparents who immigrated here. This bolsters my despairing thoughts with, ‘if they could do what they did if they could endure surely I can.’ And, I find it helpful to ask myself ‘I am doing this for the sake of what?’ More often than not I can find the courage to keep moving forward and persevere.
This is part 5 in the 5-part series on The Power of Perseverance by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.Success is an accumulation of many ordinary jobs done well. Click To Tweet
Leaders achieve success through leveraging their talent, intelligence, flexibility, and wisdom. Those who overcome the odds often point to an even more powerful trait: perseverance. As a leader, have you mastered the power of perseverance?
As I wrote in my last post, perseverance can be learned, acquired and mastered if you make a commitment to self-reflection and the journey. Learning means taking one small step to become proficient in the next one. No one can change his or her character or capacity in one leap. Here are two more steps to mastering perseverance:
Finding your purpose
Many leaders are unclear about their purpose and fail to persevere in tough times. If this sounds like you, you may not be sure why you’re striving for what you’re striving for. Your focus may be too narrow or too broad. You may be more concerned about your own well-being or the well-being of the organization as a whole. Maybe you’re a limited decision-maker or a grand vision-maker. You likely have the opportunity to make a significant impact on many levels. Asking ‘I am doing this for the sake of what?’ can help you to find your purpose.
If you don’t love your work, seek ways to love the relationships or the results. There’s purpose in adding value, making improvements and growing people. By deciding to contribute the best of yourself, you can have a calling with great purpose. Fuel your perseverance with this kind of thinking.
A leader with a critical or pessimistic mindset will not marshal the determination to move through a crisis. If you lack optimism or positivity, you probably feel like a force is dragging you down without understanding why. The good news is, this can be addressed.
There is a possibility for change when you become more self-aware, and notice when you have negative thoughts or moods there. Being aware of these feelings gives you options. You can continue to go down the negative, pessimistic rabbit hole or you can pause and begin to create positive alternatives. A seasoned leadership coach can be of great benefit to this process. Coaching can provide a mirror and feedback for recognizing the beginning of the slippery slope into the negative, pessimistic rabbit hole. It can help you create new positive alternatives, focusing on the ways a situation can work instead of getting mired in negatives.
Fostering Perseverance in Others
The best way to help your people persevere is to model optimal behavior. Develop grit and build on it. Use your authority wisely to instill positive organizational toughness. Developing a culture of perseverance maximizes people’s strengths and pushes them to achieve peak performance. An authoritarian approach is not helpful, while a coaching, encouraging manner is powerful. Understand how your leadership style comes across, and adjust to meet your people’s needs.
Leaders can make great strides by helping their people understand that success is an accumulation of many ordinary jobs done well. They push people out of their comfort zones, giving them challenging stretch assignments and timely feedback. Letting your people devise solutions ultimately engages them and builds their perseverance muscle.
When leaders build relationships and foster perseverance in their people the organization can become known for the kind of perseverance that weathers the strongest storms.