Many studies have found that the most successful people are not the ones with the most intelligence or talent, but the ones with with the highest levels of mental toughness. Mental toughness, it turns out, is a skill that can be built by a series of small but regular wins.
So let’s say you want to become a more ethical leader. You start by defining what that means to you. It might be leading a training session on conflict of interests instead of letting HR do it. It might be sharing an ethical decision that you made in the company’s monthly newsletter. It might be recognizing an employee who made a good call as part of your weekly all-hands meeting. Whatever it is, the key is to find something easy, something that doesn’t require motivation, and to do it consistently. As you accumulate these small wins, you will assume the identity of an ethical leader. Once you truly think of yourself as an ethical leader, you will be emboldened and move from small wins to big ones.
What small win can you commit to for next week, and every week thereafter?