A good team is composed of resilient members. Resilience refers to “grit,” which is the combination of power and perseverance, according to Angela Duckworth, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book Grit. Thus, the more grit a team has, the better its longevity and quality of output.
In a nutshell, the conventional notion of grit is “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Our parents taught us early on that we need to pick ourselves up whenever we fail. But how do you apply that principle to a team to increase its resilience?
1. Describe what ‘grit’ means and its formula to team members.
Also, explain the relationship between talent, effort, skill and achievement. In a nutshell, grit can be defined simply as the combination of power and perseverance that translates into hard work, which is required to succeed.
According to Professor Duckworth, “effort is twice as valuable as talent,” and “effort leads to skills and results.” Here are the simplified formulas:
Talent x Effort = Skill
Skill x Effort = Achievement
2. Remind team members that talent is appreciated, but hard work and determination are appreciated even more.
Stop praising someone by telling them how talented they are. Instead, praise them for their hard work and willingness to learn.
This way, you can instill “grit culture” right from the beginning. If you hear someone mention talent, reframe it to learning instead. It may sound trivial, but the right words frame actions and, eventually, change the overall atmosphere.
3. Build a team or corporate culture based on the philosophy of grit.
Team activities should emphasize the learning factor. Everything each team member does is a part of their lifelong learning. Treat the team as if it were a class, and you, as the leader, facilitate the learning process. Whenever possible, act out your leadership; don’t merely talk about it.
4. In every meeting, preframe the opening remark with one or two sentences like, ‘After this meeting, we will see team members working harder to create better results.’
Preframing is a communication technique that many leaders use to ensure the execution of ideas is delivered as required.
5. Continuously train team members to learn more, better and faster, so their hard work and determination result in better outputs.
Lead by example, and show team members how you continuously learn for the betterment of both the team and the company.
Make sure all your team members know what you’re currently learning by being transparent about your activities. A leader should continuously inspire and motivate team members through their meaningful actions. Moreover, learning activities are among the most valuable.
6. Avoid going on autopilot.
Recognize this symptom in each team member, and remind them to keep moving forward. When they achieve a milestone, praise them, and move to the next goal. With your active participation in a team’s goal setting and achievements, they’ll recognize you’re leading by example.
7. Never rank team members based on their training grades, but instead on their performance based on hard work.
As a leader, you need to be able to distinguish between which activities are based on talent and which are based on hard work and determination.
Last, share your life purposes, goals, successes and failures from time to time. This way, your team can compare your actions with your words. The more these things are in alignment, the more your team members feel you’re a leader worth emulating. Stay motivational and inspiring.