Featured Post: 6 attributes of mental toughness

by | Feb 18, 2018

How to recognise mental toughness

Mental toughness is a collection of attributes that allows a person to persevere through difficult circumstances and emerge without losing confidence. Here are six common attributes.

Over the years mental toughness has been used in a variety of contexts. What started mainly as a sports metaphor for top level athletes, has now moved into business leadership situations, even coaching and hiring processes. Dr. Jim Loehr of the Human Performance Institute, in his book The New Toughness Training for Sports, defined mental toughness as:

“the ability to consistently perform towards the upper range of your talent and skill.”

Organizations frequently look for people who exhibit this elusive quality, or series of qualities that make up mental toughness. They look to hire individuals who can clarify ambiguity and simplify complexity. Attempts have been made to establish a psychological profile and flesh out a set of characteristics. This is not easy as it’s based on human observations, rather than empirical research.

Mental toughness

Here are 6 attributes of people who exhibit mental toughness:

These are especially useful for hiring managers who can ask behavioural questions around these characteristics.

1. FLEXIBILITY

Individuals who exhibit mental toughness demonstrate an ability to cope with ambiguity and the unforeseen, while remaining mentally agile and measured. They look for different ways to solve problems. They are able to moderate their responses, maintaining equilibrium in the face of adversity. This will involve staying up to date in their field or knowing when they need to ask for help or advice.

2. POISE UNDER PRESSURE

Being able to resist pressure and stay calm and resolved, even in the face of what might seem like significant challenges, is key to mental toughness. Individuals are able to sustain a high level of performance and concentration until they have achieved their goals.

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3. RESPOND APPROPRIATELY

Those that possess mental toughness have the ability to identify opportunities, challenges, and threats in their environment and respond accordingly. They are able to accurately analyse a situation and create an appropriate strategy. They may change it if necessary, but while operating within the framework of a broader goal. Mental toughness requires discipline, consistency and an ability to be considered and emotionally in control, even when those around are not.

4. ETHICAL

Mental toughness means making the right decisions and behaving with integrity in accordance with an acknowledged set of ethics. They do not stoop to cut corners for short term expediency. These individuals are courageous enough to make difficult decisions and have tough conversations while remaining consistent with their values.

Read: Why understanding our values is important by Dorothy Dalton

5. RESILIENCE

Mental toughness means bouncing back from failure, learning and moving on even under the most stressful times. They are self-motivated and don’t rely on others to feed their energy. They have an inner power house.

6. GRACIOUSNESS

One of the main characteristics of mental toughness is graciousness and honorable behaviour, even when challenged or in set backs. It means learning from mistakes and being generous when wrong. It doesn’t mean that they never make mistakes or poor choices. They handle the fall-out and then move on. It involves giving recognition and credit where it is due and listening to the views of others.

Mental toughness is not necessarily innate or something you are born with. These characteristics can be learned, honed and applied over time to allow anyone to reach their potential.

What attributes would you add?

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3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Leadership and Competence Building or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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