Resolve (Leadership Essentials)

Colorado2 63Not the carpet cleaner (though that comes in handy sometimes). No resolve, the do-whatever-it-takes-no-matter-what attitude. My grandmother called it “stick-to-it-tiveness.” That refuse to quit, never-say-die attitude. After all “Goonies never say die!” Sorry, 80’s flashback there…


      • noun – firm determination to do something.
      • verb – decide firmly on a course of action

It is sometimes confused with stubborn. While the two have some attributes in common there is a significant difference.

Resolve is standing ground with a purpose and a goal. It’s that determination to get the job done/accomplish the purpose and overcome all obstacles in the process.

Stubborn is a flaw that is usually based in selfish will and want. I can be stubborn, for sure.

Another way that resolve differs from stubborn is the ability to be flexible and adjust along the way. Stubborn plows ahead and ignores reality, consequences, collateral damage, and, frankly, others. Resolve keeps all of that in mind and navigates to still accomplish what needs to be done, but in a way that is healthy and productive. Stubborn strives for efficient. Resolve strives for effective. Stubborn is about me. Resolve is about we.

When I played football, I had a coach that would always tell us to play with our “head up.” What that meant was we needed to see the person we were tackling. If you put your head down, you are more likely to miss the tackle, it is easier to push you away, and you are more likely to be injured. Plus, if your head is down, you can’t redirect to stay with the runner should he change direction. Stubbornness puts its head down. Resolve goes in with head up, eyes open, and feet ready to adjust to make the tackle.

An effective leader needs strong resolve. There will be obstacles. There will be nay-sayers. There will even be those who actively pursue to stop and thwart what the leader has set out to do. Resolve carries the leader through all of it.

A leader finds the resolve he/she needs in the original motivation; the why. When a leader can focus on why the task/goal/cause needs to be done it is easier to stay the course. As soon as the focus becomes the current climate or circumstance things start to unravel. It is so easy to get caught in a moment and lose sight of purpose. We can even get to the point where we forget our motivation over time. (I addressed this some in the post on “PASSION” a couple weeks ago.

A good resolve helps us stay steady in the times of ambiguity and when the going gets tough. And, it will. Leadership is not easy. Accomplishing great things takes work, hard work. Resolve is needed. Resolve – focused energy moving forward with head up, eyes wide open, and ready to adjust to get through, over, or around the obstacles.

Resolve is an essential of leadership.

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