Have you noticed the media coverage about “Grit” at the moment? Angela Duckworth, the most famous researcher in the area, defines grit as perseverance and passion for long term goals (Duckworth et al, 2007). The reason it is getting a run right now is that it has been shown to be a good indicator of success in a range of areas.

Here are some things we know about grit:

  • It is strongly genetic. Some people have it, some don’t.
  • It is related to, but slightly different from resilience. Resilient people bounce back quickly from hardship. Gritty people have a long term persistence in pursuing goals.
  • People who are high in grit can be much better employees – they tend to less flaky when the going gets tough.
  • What you experience during your childhood can also have an effect. Some schools are embracing the idea of exposing kids to more risky activities in order to build grit, confidence and resilience. Cossetted kids have less grit than those who have learnt to fall down and get back up again.
  • The personality characteristic of Conscientiousness is a strong indicator of grit (Duckworth 2009).

SACS is just about to release a measure of resilience in prospective employees. We will be announcing this new measure over the next couple of weeks.

The personality characteristic of conscientiousness, mentioned above, is not only a good predictor of grit, it is also an indicator of high productivity and high quality work, as well as positive workplace behaviours. Click here to find out how to measure it.

Duckworth, A.L.; Peterson, C.; Matthews, M.D.; Kelly, D.R. (June 2007). “Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 92 (6): 1087–1101. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.92.6.1087.

Duckworth, A.L.; Quinn, P.D. (2009). “Development and validation of the Short Grit Scale (GRIT–S)” (PDF). Journal of Personality Assessment. 91 (2): 166–174. doi:10.1080/00223890802634290.

Andrew Marty