The One Characteristic Of Leadership

A lot of ink has been consumed reflecting on what makes a leader! Usually, there is no one single feature which can distinct the leader from other people. But for leaders there is something make them different: mental toughness!

The One Characteristic Of Leadership - Mental Toughness

Leadership is not easy to analyze it or pinpoint it! But becomes much easier when you can recognize it! And there are a few features can indicate the leadership existence to people.

There is, of course, the clear vision, the inner reflection, the capacity for adaptation, the knowledge acquirement, the resources gathering, the relationship building, etc. but, the one thing that defines a leader from the other people is his/her mental toughness!

What History Taught Us About Leadership?

Across history, all leaders characterized by their capacity to endure and overcome the challenges lay in front them!

Check the Alexander the Great (one of the foremost leaders as far as his civic, social and military dexterities concerns and an excellent strategist). It has been told that during a particular difficult campaign when the water was in shortage, a soldier of his, found some water, pour it in his helmet and offer it to Alexander for drinking.

Alexander, though, took the water, thank the soldier for the offering and spill the water to the soil saying that if his men wouldn’t have any water, so nor he would! Public relationships or a genuine feeling along to an unparallel ethos.

His example reminds as of all the great examples left behind all the great leaders in history!

As was Hannibal without a doubt! Take a look at his campaigns for instance. He leads his troops towards Rome (one mighty empire at the time) through all hardships and difficulties. And they follow him!

Why, because he was one of them and knew what he was doing! But more, because he was suffering and endure whatever themselves has to face during this path!

What make Alexander the Great and Hannibal special? It is the fact that move on under many adversities to complete their vision sharing the same place and hardships as their men!

What makes them leaders and visible in the eye of history is their mental toughness or their grit if you like it. You can define grit as:

“the perseverance and passion to achieve long–term goals” (The Science of Developing Mental Toughness in Your Health, Work, and Life)

But in essence, you are talking about the same thing characterize all the great leaders in history and the sum of the today captains of industry and leaders: mental toughness!

What Mental Toughness Is?

Mental toughness is a term introduced at first for athletes to characterize the persistence to one’s objectives under the light of every adversity!

Generally speaking, mental toughness is:

 a controversial term, in that many people use the term liberally to refer to any set of positive attributes that helps a person to cope with difficult situations. Coaches and sport commentators freely use the term mental toughness to describe the mental state of athletes who persevere through difficult sport circumstances to succeed. For example, it is often simply applied as a default explanation for any victory, which is highly problematic as an attribution. Only within the past ten years has scientific research attempted a formal definition of mental toughness as a psychological construct and criticisms about the lack of specificity of this umbrella term abound. (Wikipedia: Mental toughness)

But today is a more general term, characterized everyone keeps on moving to the direction he/she have designed despite all odds!

Define What Mental Toughness Means For you

General definitions, though are not good guidance for a leader. A leader usually is someone who takes responsibility for his/her vision and actions. And for this reason, he/she follows novel paths towards his/her objectives!

The same thing applies to mental toughness. It is different for each one! It is the responsibility of the leader (or for every person as a matter of fact) to provide this special meaning to this term and employ it according to his/her needs.

Essentially, it is a process a reflection and resolution! Reflection on what you want to achieve in your life, and why and a fixed long-term resolution on how to do it!

But in the end of the day, you will embody your definition of mental toughness within your activities, thoughts, and examples; the other people need just to recognize it as such (and not as a stupid fixation on futile causes!)

How to Develop Your Mental Toughness

As in everything worth in life and business, there are not “one-fit-all” recipe to help you develop mental toughness! There are many approaches though and some guidelines, some of them better than other ones.

Every approach and method can help you handle the situations lay ahead you and overcome them is valid, though and you need to examine them and use the ones fit more to your character and your requirements!

There are, of course, powerful exercises to help you achieve a daily unbreakable chain of mental toughness routines which will lead you to higher levels of determination and self-discipline.

But, at the end of the day, besides the available approaches, methods, ideas and how-to, if you want to acquire this special brand of mental toughness (which will not misunderstand for stupidity, stubbornness, divorce from reality, etc.) you need to sit with yourself and:

  • Examine your core beliefs and values
  • Define your vision with clear terms and, moreover, what means to you (and what can bring to other people)
  • Set specific goals
  • Identify and enhance your feelings, motivation, and your driving factors, especially in the long-run
  • Focus on your habits and modify or delete whatever bend your resolve
  • Start operate outside your “comfort zone” while finding hacks and methods to succeed at your daily tasks, and
  • Practice daily and enhance your resolve in relation to your long-term vision

What else would you do?

Action Item: What have you done, today to bring you closer to your vision? What will you do, tomorrow? Leave your comments or your questions, here!

    Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! You can check out his blog, add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

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