Mastering Tenacity: Leading Your Team from Good to Great

by | Aug 31, 2023 | Leadership, Working Genius

We Need the ‘Tenacious’

According to Patrick Lencioni’s “The Six Types of Working Genius,” the work activity of Tenacity is all about seeing things through to completion. And to be clear, it’s more than just checking off a task on your “to do” list. Tenacity is about executing at a the high level where the standards you initially set out to achieve hold the utmost value.

Every team with members who possess this as a Genius—meaning they find immense satisfaction in executing with precision and greatness—is better for it. An organization’s reputation benefits from its Tenacious employees because they help you to stay committed to the kind of follow-through that’s necessary for quality assurance in both products and customer service.

Because we all notice the little things, it makes Tenacity all the more a critical activity for any organization. It’s often where you can close the gap between acceptable service and great service.

However, like any other type of genius, it can also be misapplied and it’s important to lead through the Tenacity activity well (even if there’s no Genius representation).

In order to optimize team members with this Genius and to lead your team in Tenacity work in general, there are a few things to ponder.

Two Common Areas of Misuse:
  • Jumping to Tenacity Work Pre-Maturely: Driven by their natural inclination to produce results, individuals with Tenacity as a Genius might be too eager to transition ideation conversations into discussions about how to get things done. Suddenly, the focus towards execution, tactics, and achieving outcomes stunts the growth of an idea into a fully formed solution. Even when no Genius of Tenacity is represented, teams ought to be aware when they might be jumping from Ideation (Wonder & Invention) to Implementation (Enablement & Tenacity), skipping Activation (Discernment & Galvanizing) simply because of our natural desire to see results.Before we move on, here are three quick dangerous assumptions that get made when Activation is skipped:
    1. It’s assumed the best decision is made. (skip Discernment)
    2. It’s assumed there’s no more feedback from your team. (skip Discernment)
    3. It’s assumed your team is naturally inspired and jumps on board. (skip Galvanizing)
  • Bypass the Relationship Side of Work: Due to their strong task-oriented mindset, they might innocently place excessive focus on completing tasks and inadvertently appear indifferent to the feelings of their colleagues. But when a team realizes this about a team member, they can correctly attribute this to their Genius instead of judging them as rude or insensitive. That’s not to take away the responsibility of awareness but rather heighten the need for both personal and team awarenes.

This can play out with customers, where a person may be prompt and accurate but may miss the little personal touch elements that take customer service from good to great.

Whether it’s colleagues or customers, it’s been said that how you make people feel in the process of work will likely stand out to them more than the work or product itself. See your clients & colleagues AS you serve them!

Two insights for leading those with the Genius of Tenacity:

Set Clear Deadlines and Objectives, Then Follow Through

Unnecessary or frequent changes to outcomes or deadlines can be disheartening to individuals who possess a Tenacity Genius. Such changes can communicate that the work they value doing isn’t valuable, making it appear that what they have been dedicating themselves to suddenly doesn’t hold the same importance as initially conveyed. If so, this can erode their motivation to work hard to meet the set targets.

When changes are necessary (they will be), communicate them within the context of your vision and goals. By doing so, you reinforce trust with them because you’re showing them that their work is valuable and you haven’t lost focus. Their belief that the project still holds significance to you will be assured. And this matters because it’s you they are following.

Yes, you could simply provide the new information and expect compliance. That’s within reason. But compliance is a poor motivator. Expecting your team to perform based on ‘they should do this’ because that’s their job is not a sustainable way to lead anyone.

But to be a leader in that situation is to help them see the value in the change and why it’s necessary or even helpful to achieve excellence (speak their language). By bringing them along the journey with you, you communicate that this is more than just a job.

Practically speaking, when communicating necessary changes, offer enough context and reasoning behind the adjustments so they have buy-in and can sink their teeth into the new deadlines, outcomes, or other parameters they’re being invited to work within. This will maintain their engagement and commitment.

And in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t have to be all the details either. The end result here is not just details and getting something out of your team. The true win is that even if they don’t fully understand, they know you care!

Lastly it’s worth repeating with different words – make sure to acknowledge their valuable work and the personal impact these changes might have on them. Your genuine expression of gratitude for their continued efforts will pay dividends.

Acknowledge both the Triumph and the Dedication

Tenacity-driven work is everyone’s responsibility, even when it’s not their primary genius trait. Therefore, celebrate not only the successful outcome but also the unwavering effort that was invested recognizing the extra energy it may have required of them to cross the finish line. Remember, the victory is the collective collaboration of a dedicated team not just an outcome.

Additionally, be sure to frame the achievement within the context of your broader vision. When the win isn’t isolated to the work or completion of tasks, you reinforce the purpose of your vision and the value of your team. This preserves the opportunity to build significant momentum and enthusiasm by keeping what matters most at the forefront.

For Leaders Who Have Tenacity

Other than having personal awareness of your natural bias towards tasks, execution, and excellence, there are a few simple things that you can do to lead well out of this Genius:

  • Keep your Tenacity Grounded in what matters most—people. Your excellent execution is important because it’s serving your team and clientele.
  • Be Tenacious about appreciating people’s efforts, not just their outcomes.
  • Resist the temptation to motivate solely based on results (good or bad). Galvanize around your why!
  • Be kind by being clear with your team about your Tenacity expectations (quality, deadlines, etc.).
  • Remember, others aren’t energized by the same things you are. Your team needs your coaching and encouragement along the way.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of doing work yourself because it’s easier that way. Everyone has to do Tenacity work, and we never promote abdicating responsibility.

Tenacity is a powerful genius trait that drives excellent results. It’s essential as a leader to harness its strengths while guiding its application thoughtfully.

By leading the Activity of Tenacity with clear communication, appreciation for dedicated efforts, and alignment with the overarching vision, leaders and their teams will experience great satisfaction of individual growth and collective success.

Let’s close the gap between good and great in your organization by leveraging Tenacity on your team.

Blog re-written by ChatGPT from original Michael Dueck content & then edited again…and re-worked again.

Let’s Work for Tenacity Together

Test Drive The Working Genius

I firmly believe that harnessing the power of the Working Genius can be a transformative step towards improving both productivity and team morale in your workplace. If you hold a leadership role, witnessing the tangible impact of this model on your team’s dynamics is an opportunity that should not be missed.

I invite you to take advantage of the test drive I offer. Should the concepts resonate with you, we can seamlessly arrange for a full-team experience of The Working Genius. Your team’s potential for growth and success awaits.

Tenacity Awareness