17 Oct Balancing Grit with Emotional Intelligence
Article by Marcel Brunel of The Brunel Group
I recently read Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. In it, Duckworth states that high achievers attain success not necessarily because they’re the smartest people in the room, but because they have “a kind of ferocious determination.” They are “unusually resilient and hard working…and they know in a very, very deep way what it is they want. They not only have determination, they have direction.” As she puts it, they have grit.
Throughout the book, she gives numerous examples of how grit, as measured by her Grit Scale, was the common denominator for those who succeeded in various physical and mental challenges, including new cadets who were able to complete “The Beast,” an extremely tough entry program at West Point (with a very high dropout rate). Intelligence may get you to the starting point, but grit gets you to the finish line.
In sales, grit can help you do what you need to do when it’s the end of the month and you’re behind in your numbers. But in my opinion, it’s not the only thing that contributes to success. If you strive for perfection, if you want to be not just better, but maybe the best there ever was, then there are advantages to a grit-propelled life. Discipline driven and outcome focused. End of story. Yet here’s what we know – there are others in our midst – our colleagues, our clients, our families, our team. In order to engage with them successfully, and to move up in the jungle gym of leadership, you must balance grit with emotional intelligence.
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, in 2020 there will be 10 skills you need to thrive. Number 6 is Emotional Intelligence. Emotional intelligence includes empathy, which has been named by some as THE skill for the 21st century.
In my opinion, achieving success comes from a balance of grit and empathy. The ability to be hard on the problem and soft on the people. In sales today, you are competing with people who have the same product, same price, same quality, same service. When everything looks the same, the only thing you can differentiate yourself on is your approach, your behavior, and your ability to collaborate and engage with empathy.
I propose a healthy balance of grit and empathy. Be discipline driven and outcome focused, have power, passion and perseverance (GRIT); AND be accommodating, collaborative, intimate (EMPATHY). Our journey in sales is more about being heart-bright than brain-bright. And it takes skill: to be soft on the people and hard on the problem; to put your foot down without leaving a footprint.
This is especially true as you become a leader. Jim Rohn said it best:
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”
Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t lose.