Why Every Leader Needs Mental Toughness
August 26, 2020
Being a leader in today’s era of unprecedented change can be daunting. Great leaders, however, rise to the occasion during a crisis, while average leaders shrink. But why is it that some individuals thrive during difficulties while others flounder? Why is it that some leaders can power through and take their team or organization to higher heights, while others don’t? The answer is mental toughness! Here is why every leader needs mental toughness.
Mental toughness is the ability to perform consistently and productively under pressure. Research is finding more and more that mental toughness plays a more important role than anything else for achieving your goals in sports, business, and life. If you are a leader who wants to be more effective in your position, mental toughness is a requirement to have you functioning at the top of your game with sustainable results. Here are four reasons why!
1. It develops a winner mindset
Most people fail in life not because they don’t have the ability, but because they don’t think they can. However, mentally tough individuals have a mental attitude that sees challenges as opportunities and not as threats. Therefore, leaders with mental toughness develop a winning mindset and use challenges as stepping stones and not as stumbling blocks.
2. It develops self-mastery
Self-mastery is about controlling one’s desires or impulses. It’s about managing one’s emotions and taking responsibility for one’s life and destiny. To lead others, you must first lead yourself. To master your game, you must first master your emotions. Therefore, mental toughness develops self-mastery for a leader, in that she takes responsibility for the direction in which she is going. Besides, a mentally tough leader takes control of their emotions by learning how to manage stress, anxiety, doubt, and fear. These are essential characteristics of leadership success in today’s global economy.
3. It boosts stick-ability
One of the fundamentals of getting things done is commitment. By commitment, I mean sticking to a task until its completion. It is about setting goals and the willingness to do whatever it takes to accomplish them. Angella Duckworth refers to this as grit in her best selling book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.” According to Professor Peter Cough in his book “Developing Mental Toughness: Coaching Strategies to Improve Performance, Resilience, and Wellbeing,” leaders who are mentally tough, possess stick-ability, and will not relent under pressure, but will stay the course to achieve their set goals.
4. It improves confidence
Leadership demands that a leader has confidence in his ability to make the right decisions, face his fears, and courageously lead his team to pursue set goals and desired results. This type of confidence referred to by Carol Dweck as a growth-mindset in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” includes high levels of self-belief in one’s abilities and confidence that they can achieve their set goals. This type of belief also translates into an attitude that says, “I can influence others, stand my ground if needs be, and not feel negatively during the communication process if someone speaks negatively about me.” Having high levels of self-belief is, therefore, a dominant trait in mentally tough leaders.
If you are a leader whose desires are to be more, do more, and achieve more sustainable results, you need to develop an unbeatable mindset called mental toughness. When you do, you will experience a leadership shift, from good to great and great to phenomenal.