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Performance Management, Discipline, Grit and Resilience

I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and many of them have incorporated the concept of grit, resilience, and discipline. Much of this is in the context of leadership, but it got me thinking about how this applies to anyone in an organisation. We at Emotie talk about performance management, engagement, and wellbeing, and that ‘we’re all in this together’. In this context, how can grit, resilience, and discipline play a part in the broader concept of organisations and the relationships between employees and managers, and peer-to-peer relationships?


As Jocko Willink says, “to be a good leader you need to understand people”. We need to take the time to get to know our people and build quality relationships. We simply won’t be able to do our job, build a business, grow and develop as individuals, teams, and managers if we don’t understand the construct of our teams and the individuals within those teams. Leaders are ultimately responsible and must understand what motivates and drives every individual to build a strong relationship founded on trust and integrity.

To do this effectively, discipline is important. If we have a loose structure around why and how we catch up with the team and don’t give the overall direction, how can anyone know what is required of them? Furthermore, how can anyone know what solution is required if the overarching intentions/goals are not clearly defined.

As for grit and resilience, breaking down the big intention/goal to be achieved into smaller bite-sized chunks of what is to be accomplished on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly basis is the key. Then, as employees and individuals, we have to learn how to apply grit, determination, and resilience to successfully go after it. World-class performance can only be achieved if we build grit and resilience to get the job done from an individual, team, and company perspective. A well-known TED Talk by Angela Duckworth sums up grit as being ‘perseverance and passion for the long term goals’. Therefore it is vital for organizations to develop grit and start breaking down long-term intentions/goals.

We see that there are four areas to build the foundations for discipline, grit, and resilience, for better performance:

1. Intelligent data for intelligent conversations

We are strong believers in managers and teams, and managers and individuals having intelligent conversations. By this, we mean having the right conversations at any point in time with accurate intelligent data at hand. We need a structure in place within our organizations that utilizes a strong performance management system that is not overcomplicated and can produce a dashboard on any individual or team at any time. This is the intelligent data we must have. If the structure of this intelligent data is right, and the discipline around having the intelligent conversation is also right, then success is inevitable. Keeping it simple is a key and critical component in our view.

2. Checking in regularly with purpose

We know that regular check-ins are the way forward and are already being practiced by many organizations now. What we believe is that check-ins need to have a purpose, be on point, and everyone needs to know and understand the purpose for completing it. If the individual is not able to understand why they do regular check-ins, then trust and integrity have been lost in the process and also the broader purpose.

This is discipline. We need the check-in process to be aligned with the company’s big intentions/goals to perform better as individuals, teams, and organizations. We need to have the discipline and structure around the regular check-in process to be effective and build strong relationships. As discussed, the right check-in process provides the intelligent data for intelligent conversations to take place.

3. Understand the whole person

Listening to your team, talking to them, and building relationships based on trust is critical for better performance management. Further to this is really understanding the whole person. We need to understand their performance, their levels of engagement, and their overall wellbeing, as well as what drives them to succeed.

Do you know if your employees and teams are determined to achieve success? Do they have the grit and resilience to succeed? Do you know this from talking to them, seeing them ‘on and off the field’, and truly understanding what makes them tick? These are all very relevant questions for us to pose so that we can understand the whole person and not just the performance results. We have to do more as leaders and as managers to engage our employees and our teams to understand the whole person and the whole team.

4. Promoting employee wellbeing

A Chopra Center article on grit vs resilience indicated that one of the methods for developing grit and resilience is to create a growth mindset, practice mindfulness, and take time out in the day for reflection. Knowing how employees are feeling at any time and encouraging mindfulness, reflection, and other wellness practices is very important for employee wellbeing. Resilience requires optimism, particularly during tough times. Through the practice of mindfulness, the wellbeing of an individual supports grit and resilience. The Chopra Center noted research out of India: ‘In a study featuring 327 undergrads who completed a series of surveys measuring their level of mindfulness, their satisfaction with life, their emotional state, and their level of resilience found that individuals with higher mindfulness levels had greater resilience thereby increasing their life satisfaction.’

Finding the discipline, grit, and resilience alongside performance could very well make the difference between mediocre performance and high performance. Grit and resilience are powerful traits for anyone to have and being able to develop these in your organization could be the tipping point you have been looking for. Emotie believes in promoting performance, engagement, and wellbeing to understand the whole person. We strongly believe that performance, discipline, grit, and resilience all work hand in hand.


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