I knew it. My dad calls it sheer stubbornness (at least when it comes to me), but according to Margaret Wente, in the Globe and Mail, persistence is an important predictor of performance. I would also speculate that it is an important predictor of managerial, entrepreneurial and leadership performance.
How we deal with set-backs is an important part of character. Call it resilience, persistence, perseverance, grit, or sheer bullheadedness, people who can face failure and opposition with grace and determination are those that succeed. Angela Duckworth, a professor at Penn State, has developed a “Grit Scale” that measures resilience. She has found that it predicts scholastic performance better than IQ at all levels of education. To take the Grit Survey click on the link and go to the testing centre at Authentic Happiness. All of the tests in this website are carefully designed and validated.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Paul Tough, in Margaret Wente’s article on academic achievement:
I think there is a real difference between developing self-esteem and developing character, and in the past few decades we’ve become confused about that. Yes, if you want to develop kids’ self-esteem, the best way to do it is to praise everything they do and make excuses for their failures.
But if you want to develop their character, you do almost the opposite: You let them fail and don’t hide their failures from them or from anybody else – not to make them feel lousy about themselves, but to give them the tools to succeed next time.
As leaders, we need to take a page out of Mr. Tough’s book. Our job is not to make people feel good about themselves, but to support them and help them to find the knowledge, talent, skills and motivation they need to succeed, in school and in the workplace.