What do you think Michelle Obama, Angela Merkel, Michael Jordan, Nelson Mandela, Hillary Clinton, Mother Teresa, and many other great leaders have in common?
You’re right. They understood the power of determination in leadership.
Determination is what it takes to stay standing, keep walking, or getting back up…again and again. It is a leadership trait that demands persistence, perseverance and drive.
The Cambridge dictionary defines determination as “the ability to continue trying to do something, although it is very difficult”.
Have you ever…
…chosen to persevere when things got hard?
…endured challenging seasons?
…decided to get back up again even though your circumstances knocked you down several times?
If you are reading this, the answer is probably ‘yes’.
Determination is a key leadership trait which if you do not have it you will struggle.
I remember the day my boss told me I had to repeat a phase of my training to become a regional area manager in retail years ago.
There was a situation with one of the staff members at the store I was the manager at the time. I was certain she made a major mistake but I had no proof. So I took responsibility because I was in charge. High valued items were stolen and it was an expensive situation.
I was glad I did not lose my job. But the damage was done, I had to rebuild my reputation. I worked hard and showed the organisation that I was determined to do this job and to become a great area manager.
Another case where I had to be determined was when I was developing a store manager and it did not go as I was hoping. Maybe that was an issue of patience too, but I was not going to give up on him as I knew his potential.
Of course, there are times to give up and let things go. But if you have conviction about a course of action you should go through with it.
I have learned a lot about the power of determination since I started running a few years ago.
Running takes a lot of determination, discipline and self-control. The amazing thing is that you can get better and better if you are up for it. It is not easy, but it is possible.
After not believing I could run for most of my life I managed to run my first half-marathon (21km) after a couple of years of training – yes, I took it slow.
It was never my goal until I met my now-husband. I married into a running family. So, I thought ‘why not’ and started training more and more.
If you are determined you put your mind to something and get it done.
That is the good thing about doing races. I believe by signing up for the half-marathon and then running it no matter what has not only developed my muscles but has sharpened my mind.
Determined leaders focus on achieving their goals. That is the power of determination in leadership.
You can develop this trait by…
As leaders, we not only need to know where we are going but we also need to articulate our vision in a way our people can follow us.
Our vision is grounded in our values and needs to be attractive yet challenging for people to get on board. It needs to represent a change that is worth working towards.
While the vision is the big picture we need to break it down to SMART goals in order to get there. They need to be clear so people know what to focus on which leads to the next point.
Focus is a superpower in itself these days. We live in a world full of distractions and they will steal our focus if we allow them. If we lose our focus we lose our determination.
We need to lead by example and help our people to stay focused as well.
This last point is probably the most important one.
The more people around you are on board with your vision and goals the more likely you achieve your goals.
Let me ask you again, how determined are you?
Take these four steps and go for it!