It’s a rare leader who doesn’t get discouraged. When faced with challenges, the essential leadership trait that serves us best is perseverance.
The value of courage, persistence and perseverance has rarely been illustrated more convincingly than in the life story of this man (his age appears in the column on the left):
Age 22 Failed in business
Age 23 Ran for Legislature – defeated
Age 24 Again failed in business
Age 25 Elected to Legislature
Age 26 Sweetheart died
Age 27 Had a nervous breakdown
Age 29 Defeated for Speaker
Age 31 Defeated for Elector
Age 34 Defeated for Congress
Age 37 Elected to Congress
Age 39 Defeated for Congress
Age 46 Defeated for Senate
Age 47 Defeated for Vice President
Age 49 Defeated for Senate
Age 51 Elected President of the United States
That’s the record of Abraham Lincoln.
Organizations experience success and good fortune. It is easy to be a good leader when things are going well.
They also experience frequent changes and obstacles. It is how leaders handle the challenging times that reveals their true character and shapes how they are described and remembered by others.
Napoleon Hill once said, “The strongest oak tree of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.”
So it is with great leaders.