The Most Important Leadership Skills

15 Lessons to Model Grit, Grace and Gravitas

Kevin & Jackie Freiberg

“People who model Grit, Grace and Gravitas are clear on their values and their purpose.
They’re willing to listen to opposing views without condemning and are even willing to adjust their own views if listening and learning merit it.”

Are you recognized by family, friends and colleagues as being a person who models Grit, Grace and Gravitas? These are 3 qualities most people WANT to exude. Some people are good at one or two, but few people crush all three.

Over the years, we’ve had the privilege to work with some gritty leaders and wrote about many more in our book GUTS!

Here are 15 leadership skills you can borrow to grow
Grit, Grace and Gravitas

  1. Manage your backstory. Our backstories can be a badge of honor or a burden to bear. You can use your life story to avenge the past or enrich the future – it’s a choice.
  2. Enlist at least two mentors at various stages in your life…one personal and one professional. And you don’t have to move on;  you can simply add on and grow your tribe.
  3. Work on being interested and interesting. Remember, interesting people are the life of the party, interested people bring life TO the party. Work at being good at BOTH sharing and asking.
  4. Mind your P’s & Q’s: Ask about People and their Quest for getting better. Great leaders care about people and their performance. It is not one OR the other, it’s BOTH AND.
  5. Stay relevant. 29-year-old Jessie has very different needs than 35-year-old Jessie. Check-in on people’s lives frequently.
  6. Never wait too long for a tough conversation. Embrace the suck and speak the truth in kindness.
  7. Never hang on too long. Allow people and dare to invite people to move on if they are no longer a fit for your business or social circle.
  8. Don’t commit to diversity. DO diversity. Lead and engage with diverse teams and social groups.
  9. Remember: better resilience is strengthened through bounded optimism. Remind yourself you can do hard things, then embrace the brutal facts and focus on achieving something better.
  10. Dare to try. Doing brave work requires you to step through your fears.
  11. Fail fast. Learn, adjust, let go and move on.
  12. Do not be sorry, change. If you screw up, practice the art of the apology, own your mistake and change your behavior.
  13. Lead and live like it’s interval training. Work hard, rest, replenish and repeat. There will be times in your life when you can work, work and work and there will be other times that require more time to rest, restore and replenish. And that’s okay, life is dynamic and never completely balanced.
  14. Remember, perfectionism is a curse. It’s better to be the true you. Authentic and approachable people are relatable and disarming, perfectionists are irritating and intimidating.
  15. Always find a way to achieve the next stage of GOOD for friends, colleagues, business and the greater community.

What can you do?

  • Choose 3 qualities a week you want to improve and embark on a journey of developing Grit, Grace and Gravitas. Do so for 5 weeks to evaluate your consistency in practicing each quality.
  • Evaluate your progress and ask trusted others to hold you accountable.
  • Watch and research leaders you respect to see if there are other qualities you can embrace and practice to master these skills.
  • Invest in an Enneagram styles test for greater self-awareness, a powerful tool for self-mastery, conflict resolution, team dynamics, leadership and emotional intelligence. Ian Morgan Cron is a site we recommend for learning more.