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The Paradox of GRIT

Updated: Mar 31

In today’s workplace it’s true, we still need tough characters – but with Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth. So yes, there is a paradox with GRIT®. We’re asking for courage, toughness, and resilience, mixed with softer characteristics – being generous, respectful, and having integrity and self-awareness of one’s truth.

While each GRIT® characteristic - generosity, respect, integrity and truth - stands alone as a crucial leadership trait, they are uniquely combined, creating a way of leading our own life. As said by William Wallace in one of my favorite movies, Braveheart (1995), “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”

We start with Truth in the GRIT image above, because this is the core. When you know and accept your truth, align with integrity, and respect yourself and others, you are more generous with your time and resources, but not at the expense of yourself. And this results in grit, but not at the expense of others.

GRIT® not only impacts the way you lead your organization, but it will affect every aspect of your life - your family, your social life and your personal journey. By living this way, it leaves no room for regrets and you will authentically lead others.

What GRIT® really boils down to is the ability to be more human and genuine, instead of hiding behind the mask of professionalism.

I worked with one CEO in particular of a mid-sized law firm in New York who embodied GRIT®. I was putting together a customized 360-degree feedback survey for him to gather feedback on his performance and data to be used for succession planning. This CEO opted to have the entire firm be invited to take part. We included the firm’s values: integrity, respect, teamwork, and ingenuity. A couple of the members on his advisement team asked him if he really wanted to open himself up to that.

Without hesitation he said, “I want to hear their perception, and I want everyone to feel they had a chance to give their view in a safe environment.” The response rate and the results were the highest I have ever seen, with almost a perfect 5 out of a possible 5 on integrity and respect!

The softer characteristics of GRIT® – Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth – create a healthy toughness and perseverance in our leadership that involves the team, rather than leaving them in the dust. GRIT® provides the foundation that inspires people to step up, take ownership, create solutions, and make things happen – with sustainable results!

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