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Building Leadership Skills That Enhance Perseverance


Steve Jobs said, "I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” Richard Branson stated that the key to success is “a lot of hard work, and the perseverance to overcome challenges and turn them into opportunities to learn and grow.”

 A business owner is a leader. However, one of the key attributes of successful leaders and business owners is perseverance. Persevering in the face of daunting challenges and maintaining focus even when things don’t go as anticipated is often the key to leadership success.

What can business owners do to build leadership skills that enhance perseverance? According to leadership writer John Maxwell, unlike other skill development areas we should focus instead on eliminating the following five inhibitors to success:

Avoiding adopting an attitude that it’s OK to give up

Fight the urge and start to practice not giving up or learn to take the difficult (and ultimately the more profitable) path. This takes focus and practice but the more a leader does this the more the perseverance “muscle” strengthens.

Changing the belief that “life should be easy”

It is better to mentally plan for or expect obstacles and even think about what they may be so that we can better deal with them when they do occur (and be pleasantly surprised when they don’t).

Eliminating the belief that success is “a destination”
The path to “relative success” is a journey not a destination, and the best we can do is to persevere towards a milestone and then recalibrate. We can then press on to the next milestone.

Overcoming low personal resiliency

Leaders cannot allow discouraging obstacles to visibly shake them and must instead try to “thicken” their resiliency muscle. This is not easy and may need a “fake it till you make it” approach at first. Once again, practice helps builds this considerably over time.

Ensuring that there is no lack of “vision”

A personal vision of what the future can look like not only inspires team members (if well- crafted of course) but can help people “push through” when obstacles or setbacks occur.

Much of the above is fundamentally about an attitude shift in which leaders take the time to think through which of the above is most inhibiting their ability to persevere. Here are a few examples of leaders who had the right attitude to achieve success:

Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star Newspaper because of his seeming lack of creativity. He started an animation company called Laugh-O-Gram but was forced to shut down when his distributor went out of business. He was barely able to feed himself or pay his rent. He faced several other challenges in his quest to build an empire, but he never lost sight of the bigger picture. He achieved success because of his undying perseverance.

Despite being the co-founder of one of the world’s most successful companies, Steve Jobs was proof that perseverance is an essential competency of a great leader. In 1997, Jobs was on the brink of bankruptcy, but he never allowed the situation to hold him back. He persevered and was rewarded with remarkable success with Apple.

The above examples show how Walt Disney and Steve jobs are leaders who persevered to achieve success. Are you persevering to ensure success in your business? We can help you illuminate inhibitors and achieve success.

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