While the need for grit was expressed long ago by George Washington and is recently gaining popularity in education and business, often grit can come at the expense of other important behaviors. To get lasting results we need GRIT® – generosity, respect, integrity, and truth. This combination of principles helps leaders create personal accountability, inspire others and enhance team performance.
The outcome is a more fulfilling, satisfying and profitable experience for everyone. In an organization with GRIT®, it’s possible to enjoy work more, feel less stress and be more creative, productive, trusting and open.
When you are living in integrity with your truth, and you respect yourself and others, you will naturally feel generous. It’s not forced. You become more focused on helping others. As a leader, you’ll be eager to give that tough feedback because your intent is to help. This will trickle down to teammates, and they will want to help each other stay on track.
Giving feedback is an opportunity for awareness, so you are generous with it. You respect that those receiving it can decide if it’s true for them and if they need to adjust to be in integrity with themselves. You’ll naturally acknowledge people for the efforts they put in because you know it helps them stay on track and keep motivated.
People will value and respect you in accordance with the value and respect that you place upon yourself. Respect can be both given and received. If you don’t have self-respect, it’s difficult to respect someone else or to be respected. Effective leadership is virtually impossible without respect for yourself, the people you serve and the reality of your situations. When you respect yourself and others, you can be more objective about others’ behaviors. You can listen to their words without attaching too much significance to them, realizing that they may be motivated by circumstances that have nothing to do with you.
Growing up, you may have been taught that being selfish is bad. Beliefs and feelings like this can be so powerful they cause you to neglect your own needs. Respecting yourself first is necessary to authentically respect anyone else. You have to be selfish until you can be generous, meaning you have to take care of yourself, so you’ll have enough to give to others.
Integrity is aligning your actions with your truth. You do the things that are important to you, in a balanced way. Integrity is also about being unimpaired, in the sense that your actions line up perfectly to your truth. This isn’t about someone else’s definition of perfection; but about doing your best to remain true to yourself and accepting that as perfection.
If you are aware of your intent, you will know what is driving your actions, and it will help align you to your truth. Bear in mind people may not be aware of your intent. They only see your behavior, and that is how they will judge you. If you are aware, you will ensure that your behavior aligns with your intent.
You have likely heard the expression the truth will set you free. Discovering your truth is significant because everything stems from it, affecting you both personally and professionally – especially in the way you lead others. Truth is what is important to you – your purpose, your intent, your “why.”
The notion of truth, above all, connotes honesty. Are you honest with yourself? Do you really know who you are and what you believe in? Or are you wearing masks just to please others? Can you look objectively at your situation, while still having confidence in yourself? Or are you playing victim, so others feel sorry for you?
Truth is about being who you really are, fearlessly, rather than worrying what others think about you.
GRIT® empowers leaders to make a lasting impact for the individuals and organizations they serve.
Related: Be a Truth-Teller: Advice for Better Mentoring