Have you ever stood in a landmark of history and had chills go up and down your spine?
To have a feeling of awe of being where monumental events occurred that changed the course of history?
Last summer, as I walked through the once-secret corridors of Churchill War Rooms in London, I had such an experience.
As part of the Churchill Museum in London, I saw the actual rooms where Churchill and his staff strategized World War II to defeat Hitler from 1939 to 1945.
The rooms are left exactly as they were.
I saw Churchill’s chair, the bed he slept in, and the maps with pinholes representing strategic decisions to defeat Hitler.
The room that got me the most was peering through the glass into the room below.
As I envisioned Churchill leading the team around that table, I couldn’t help but think of Churchill’s pertinacity.
Pertinacity is a character quality I see in leaders who have the courage to act on their convictions. In my book, How Did My Family Get In My Office?!, pertinacity is the character trait in every leader’s story of how they transformed their conflict style for the better.
According to Websters, pertinacity means persistence and tenacity to stick with what’s difficult. It’s a combination of courage, conviction, and a little bit of stubbornness.
Applying the three qualities of pertinacity to Churchill’s leadership …
First, Churchill had the courage to explore innovative ways to win the war.
In fact, he was known for supporting scientists and engineers to work on highly experimental technologies. Some of these were crucial to winning the war, and others were significant failures.
Churchill had the courage to think beyond what had been done before.
Secondly, Churchill had the conviction to do what was right.
Not only did Churchill have the conviction to defeat Hitler, he was also known for his conviction to stand up to his own officers who wanted to make decisions that would undermine the British strategic plan.
In order to persevere through the immense challenges of the war, Churchill’s conviction and belief in overtaking Hitler never wavered.
Lastly, Churchill had more than a little bit of stubbornness.
Known for his take-charge personality and determination to achieve goals, he was relentless in his deep commitment to winning World War II.
To his credit, when his decisions didn’t go as planned and were outright failures, he took responsibility by learning from his mistakes and applying lessons learned to future decisions.
Peering into your office
If people were to look into your office watching you lead your team, what would they see?
- Would they see your courage to explore innovative ways of winning against your biggest challenges?
- Would they see your conviction to do what was right, including standing up to your own team members when they want to make decisions that would undermine your company’s strategic plan or culture?
- Would they see your stubbornness to achieve goals while also learning from mistakes?
Whether you have a strategic decision you’re facing or an unresolved conflict on your team, practice pertinacity even when you feel uncomfortable. Like Churchill, don’t give up.
About the author
Bonnie Artman Fox, MS, LMFT works with executive leaders who want to gain self-awareness about the impact of their words and actions and up-level their interpersonal skills.
Drawing from decades as a psychiatric nurse and licensed family therapist, Bonnie brings a unique perspective to equip executive leaders with the roadmap to emotional intelligence that brings teams together.
Bonnie’s leadership Turnaround coaching program has an 82% success rate in guiding leaders to replace abrasive behavior with tact, empathy, and consideration of others. The end result is a happy, healthy, and profitable workplace…sooner vs. later.