Leadership Qualities: Nothing but Grit.


Effective leaders demonstrate grit, carrying the burden of responsibility well, soldiering on when their team needs them the most.

What better way to encapsulate the power of finishing one year and starting a new one than to watch a championship game?

And, we had some amazing football games as we closed out 2019 that gave us more useful tools to battle 2020!  So, imagine that your team is up for the final game.  The buzz of excitement is high and everyone is gearing up for the final battle to win their hard fought road to the top.  But, just hours before the kick-off, the leader is struck with a family tragedy.  Steve Ensminger, LSU offensive coordinator, had to bear the loss of his daughter-in-law, Carley McCord, the 30-year-old sports broadcaster married to his son.  And, she died in a plane crash on her way to Atlanta to cover this semifinals match.   

Would Ensminger still coach the match? “There’s no question,”  responded LSU coach Ed Orgeron to SEC Network (White, 2019; https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2019/12/28/lsu-assistant-daughter-law-carley-mccord-killed-plane-crash/2764671001/).

And, despite the heartbreak among the family, the team, and the media fraternity, it was one of the greatest games in history (Bengel, 2019).  “Burrow finished completing 29-of-39 passes for 493 yards and a mind-numbing eight total touchdowns. As a team, the Tigers put together 692 yards of total offense”(https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/lsu-vs-oklahoma-every-stunning-record-joe-burrow-and-lsu-broke-in-the-peach-bowl-vs-oklahoma/).

LSU vs Oklahoma Highlights Playoff Semifinal – NCAAF 2019 (12/28/2019)

As we look ahead to 2020, we can take much from the grit exhibited by Ensminger, Burrows and all the players that stayed on task despite the heartbreaking tragedy of death.  Grit can be though of as, “a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state (a powerful motivation to achieve an objective).”

Other more commonly used words are: “Backbone, chutzpah, fortitude, guts, stick-to-it-iveness: All words that describe what separates brilliant slackers from the simply talented who excel through a passionate yet steady approach” (Packard, 2007; https://www.apa.org/monitor/nov07/grit ).

Research bears out the power of this little word and the difference it makes in the lives of effective leaders.  See a research by Angela Lee Duckworth, PhD, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 92, No. 6).  There is also a movie review of Unbroken by Paul Wong on the defiant power of the human spirit (2014; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282447816_The_positive_psychology_of_grit_The_defiant_power_of_the_human_spirit); seminal work by Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning; and more recent studies of University students by Kannangara et. al. (2018; https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01539/full).  

As you look ahead to the future, remember how much you have already faced behind you.  Let the strength that was forged in fire give you more grit that will refine you and keep you going to finish what you have started in the first 24 hours of 2020!  Scroll through the last year of Crystal Clear Vision blogs and discover more nuggets of wisdom that I have been packing into this leadership bag at https://crystalclearvisionblog.com/2019/10/21/leadership-qualities-celebrate-the-circle-of-life/ ; https://crystalclearvisionblog.com/2019/10/14/leadership-qualities-attitude-is-everything/ ; https://crystalclearvisionblog.com/2018/03/31/purpose/ ; and much more at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD .

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