Resolute leaders (and Everything Disc)

Resolute leaders (and Everything Disc)

Updated August 2021

The resolute leadership style is the focus of this month’s continuing examination of the 8 dimensions of leadership. No matter what our own style of leadership, we all have something to learn from the styles that come more easily to others.

Resolute leadershipWho is a resolute leader?

Resolute leaders are highly determined and persistent. They have the inner strength to give people courage during hard times. They tend to be natural skeptics and show a disdain for weakness and incompetence. You might hear them say “should” a lot; they like to see things done the “right” way, or maybe just their way.

If you’re a resolute leader you might see yourself as highly competent, determined, rational, independent, and up for a challenge. You set high standards for yourself and others. You spot inefficiencies and aren’t afraid to speak up when you see a problem.

Strengths of the resolute leader:

  • They tend to be good problem solvers.
  • They’re often able to push their way through obstacles.
  • They’re able to hold people accountable.
  • They’re often able to identify potential weaknesses in plans.
  • They’re not afraid to speak their minds.
  • They’re usually able to separate feelings from issues.
  • They have a competitive streak that helps them achieve their goals.
  • They have high standards for themselves and others.

Goals: Independence, personal accomplishment, efficient results

Would increase effectiveness through: Warmth, tactful communication, paying attention to others’ needs

–Source: The 8 Dimensions of Leadership

What can we learn from resolute leaders?

cartCurious about your own style? Take this quick leadership assessment.

What business leaders and researchers say about the resolute leadership style

“It is very important to grasp that Level 5 leadership is not just about humility and modesty. It is equally about ferocious resolve, an almost stoic determination to do whatever needs to be done to make the company great.”
Good to Great, Jim Collins

“The high expectations of leaders aren’t just fluff that they hold in their minds to keep a positive outlook or to psych themselves up. Another person’s belief in our abilities accomplishes much more than that. The expectations that successful leaders hold provide the framework into which people fit their own realities.”
The Leadership Challenge, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner

“Go find what needs fixing in your organization. Wander around the plant, the store, the branch, the halls, or the office. Look for things that don’t seem right. Ask questions. Probe.”
The Leadership Challenge, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner

“Companies win when their managers make a clear and meaningful distinction between top- and bottom-performing businesses and people, when they cultivate the strong and cull the weak. Companies suffer when every business and person is treated equally and bets are sprinkled all around like rain on the ocean.”
Winning, Jack Welch

“Within high-performing companies, when employees fail to deliver on their promises, colleagues willingly and effectively step in to discuss the problem. In the worst companies, poor performers are first ignored and then transferred. In good companies, bosses eventually deal with problems. In the best companies, everyone holds everyone else accountable—regardless of level or position.”
Crucial Conversations, Kerry Patterson, et al.

“Champion and guide innovative efforts that stem from perceived problems, expressed customer needs, and research findings (research is often ignored). Any of these three reasons will provide a solid rationale for experimental initiatives.”
Successful Executives Handbook, Susan Gebelein, et al.

The authors discuss the value of conducting onsite business reviews to challenge employees and to monitor the effectiveness of methods:
“When you go to an operation and you run a review of the business, the people may not like what you tell them, but they will say, ‘At least he cares enough about my business to come and review it with us today. He stayed there for four hours. He quizzed the hell out of us.’ Good people want that. It’s a way of raising their dignity.”
Execution, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

Additional readings

5 Ways Successful Leaders Cultivate Grit and Achieve Long Term Goals,
“Anything worthwhile takes time to build. Along the way a leader will face countless challenges, failures, and setbacks that will become roadblocks unless they find a way forward. Positive leaders have grit and find a way to navigate the roadblocks or run through them to move closer to their vision and goal.”

6 Actions Even the Least Confrontational Managers Must Take to Hold Employees Accountable, Entrepreneur
“If you are in a leadership role, the work needs to get done by other people. The only way to get work done by other people is if you set expectations and hold them accountable for results. It’s hard work requiring focus and clarity. It’s not-so-comfortable with difficult people, but accountability is an essential leadership competency.”

How to Effectively Lead Your Team Through Obstacles, Inc.
“In any team, of any size, in any industry, there will be inevitable obstacles to overcome as your business evolves. As a leader, the way these situations are handled from the get-go can have a lasting effect on your team and how they react to future challenges.”

How to Cultivate Leadership That Is Honed to Solve Problems, Strategy + Business
“Challenge-driven leaders don’t want to lead or be led. But they excel at choreographing the work of others.”

Five Characteristics of Resolute Leaders, Doug Dickerson on Leadership
“Resolute leaders stick to their core values. When your values are clear to you and to everyone else in your organization then it simplifies the decision making process.”

Readings to challenge the resolute leader

Are Your High Expectations Hurting Your Team?, Harvard Business Review
“Your overly ambitious expectations may be hurting the self-confidence of those on your team, causing your own chronic dissatisfaction, and hindering your organization’s resilience.”

Turn Your Next Interruption into an Opportunity, Harvard Business Review
More than a typical discussion about management by walking around.  “Every ‘interruption’ offers an opportunity to lead impactfully, to set expectations, bring clarity to an issue, or infuse a problem with energy and insight.”


Do you have any additional readings to add to this list?


by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the team



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