April 26, 2016

Healthcare Managers: Watch Out for Too Much Grit!


Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines grit as “firmness of mind or spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship.” Sounds like the perfect characteristics for a good healthcare manager, right? But, did you ever stop to think that maybe having too much grit could actually be a negative?

According to Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania who recently gave a Ted Talk on the subject, grit is an essential trait among successful professionals. Duckworth believes that people with grit approach their overall goals with “passion and perseverance” and are more likely to have success than those who are just intelligent or talented. She says that being gritty can help a person reach and maintain their career goals, especially those in leadership roles.

But, regardless of these positives, having too much grit can also be a big negative. If you are too passionate toward obtaining your goals and unwilling to listen to others, you might become the healthcare manager that “no one wants to work with.” The same can hold true for physicians who are so passionate that it can turn patients off.

Mary Herrmann, a managing director of executive coaching for BPI Group, recently explained to writer Joann Lublin of The Wall Street Journal that, “excessive grittiness can derail your career”. As a healthcare professional, it is important to make sure that while you are tenaciously working toward your goal at work, you are open to working with your colleagues. Hermann recommends learning to delegate and work with others without being too obstinate.

Also, employees with too much grit should learn how to refocus goals if necessary. Learning how to accept failures is a key part of succeeding. “Resiliency means knowing when to zig and when to zag, but not to give up,” explains Robin Koval, co-author of the book “Grit to Great”.

Remember, being a gritty healthcare manager is good, as long as you keep a balance. Key take-ways should be: make sure to keep your stress level down, rely on your colleagues, be flexible and know when to change course when the path you are taking is going nowhere.

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