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We’ve all heard the quote, “at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. While it is a popular cliché in business, it doesn’t count out the reality that perseverance is an important leadership skill.

Perseverance involves people sticking to their path regardless of the obstacles placed in their way. They maintain their drive, enthusiasm, and determination and know how to handle a crisis in a confident manner.

Effective leaders demonstrate an ability to persevere even if the odds are stacked against them. After all, if certain leaders did not persevere during tough times, we wouldn’t have chocolate “kisses” to give out every year for Valentine’s Day, or ever supported a talking mouse.

Yes, the respective founders of the Hershey Company and Walt Disney Company had to endure obstacles to reach success. They struggled, almost went bankrupt, and had to prove the skeptics wrong. However, they depended on their own efforts and perseverance rather than good fortune. And as you know, both experienced huge levels of success and prosperity, plus made huge differences in the entertainment and candy industries.

Think about your own leadership traits. Are you a role model for innovative thinking and push others to take risks? Or do you resist making decisions for fear of failure?

If you want to become more of a take-charge person or could use a reminder of why perseverance is important, take a look at our development tips.

· Instead of getting frustrated when things don’t go as planned, expect change, ambiguity, and frustration at least part of the time. This is normal. Develop your sense of humor; learn not to take yourself too seriously.

· You need to be able to persevere during the hard times if you are convinced you are on the right course. Before you make a big change, consult with other leaders about the decision and analyze what impact the change will have on the organization (both positive and negative).

· Think positively. Instead of telling yourself a task is impossible, tell yourself that you have reached a momentary impasse and that a solution does exist and will eventually come to you.

· If you tend to change course too often, practice handling ambiguous situations and learn to wait out your anxiety.

· Persistence does not mean banging one’s head on an obstacle until one or the other gives way. It does mean finding and applying strategies that will move you forward. Apply your problem-solving skills and brainstorm possible solutions to the problem. Form a team to help identify obstacles and develop alternatives for overcoming them.