Five Characteristics of Resolute Leaders


The path to success is to take massive, determined action. – Tony Robbins

In his book, “What Makes Olympic Champions?”, John E. Anderson relates a story from the 1992 Summer Olympics that featured two tremendously poignant moments. American sprinter Gail Devers, the clear leader in the 100 meter hurdles, tripped over the last barrier. She agonizingly pulled herself to her knees and crawled the last five meters, finishing fifth- but finishing.

Even more heart-rending was the 400 meter semifinal in which British runner Derek Redmond tore a hamstring and fell to the track. He struggled to his feet and began to hobble, determined to complete the race. His father ran from the stands to help him off the track, but the athlete refused to quit. He leaned on his father, and the two limped to the finish line together, to deafening applause.

Hang around in leadership long enough and you will come to know that leadership is not for wimps. It takes a tremendous amount of perseverance and determination in order to succeed. As we begin a new year now might be a good time to revisit some of the characteristics of resolute leadership and why they are important. Here are five for consideration.

Uncommon Discipline

Many things will compete for your time and attention as a leader. Discipline is necessary for time management and as a buffer against trivial things that constantly compete for your attention. Possessing the discipline to not be distracted by things in the margins will require this skill. Discipline is also necessary in order to set the pace for others in your organization. When discipline is strong best practices will follow.

Unwavering Values

Resolute leaders stick to their core values. When your values are clear to you and to everyone else in your organization then it simplifies the decision making process. If a policy or action doesn’t line up with your core values then the decision-making process is streamlined. Knowing your core values is essential to your operation. Have you defined them? Can everyone accurately communicate them? If not, make this a priority. Values keep you ground and give you direction.

Strength in Adversity

Every leader faces adversity. The test of your leadership is not whether you will face challenges but in how you will respond to them and how quickly you can put them behind you. Your strength is not developed in adversity but rather it is revealed in adversity. The strength that gets you through adversity is grown over time and is a maturity factor of your leadership. A resolute leader will not back down in adversity but will see it as just another milestone in his or her growth as a leader.

Enthusiastic About Relationships

A resolute leader is a relationship builder. One primary reason is because a leader can’t do it alone. The success of the leader is tied to the success of those around him. The leader who stands the test of time is the one who has learned the secret of building relationships, and thus, the people around him. John Maxwell’s principle of “walking slowly through the crowd” is one that comes to mind. When you take the time to build relationships and realize it’s one of the most essential skills as a leader you will be resolute leader surrounded with by a great host of people to share the journey.

Passionate About the Future

Resolute leaders have learned how to navigate through adversity, have the discipline to lead themselves and others, have built relationships, and are passionate about the future. Come what may, resolute leaders are optimistic. Through hard work and perseverance, the future is bright for those who choose to see it. When your values are aligned with your vision you can proceed with confidence in knowing that today can be good and tomorrow can be even better.

What do you say?


© 2014 Doug Dickerson



About dougdickerson

I am Certified Leadership Trainer, author, columnist, and speaker. Husband to Alicia, father to Katelyn and Kara, and "Pop" to terrific grandson Tyson. I am an avid photographer, love the outdoors, and like to travel. I'm passionate about sharing my leadership insights and helping people reach their full potential.
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