Winners never quit, and quitters never win” – Vince Lombardi

Sometimes, potential employers set out to look for strong-willed employees when they consider their targets to be met.

Who is a Strong-willed Person?

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me” – Ayn Rand

Strong-willed people are known to be determined people who hardly ever give up on their goals. They certainly echo the words of Madonna Ciccone who declared,  “I’m tough, ambitious and I know exactly what I want.”

This characteristic shows up right from childhood for some and for others, it is manifested through trials and challenges they experience. It’s not rare to find strong-willed children growing up into strong-willed adults. Each of us may have a few of these personalities in our organisations, at meetings, conferences and everywhere else there is a gathering or this may even be ourselves.

Such people are admired by many because they have an impressive number of desirable qualities. Some of these include the fact that they know exactly what they want and go straight for it. They are assertive, competitive and can be persuasive too. They are highly opinionated and self-motivated. There are more of these admirable qualities in this group of people who easily stand out, possess and exhibit. They are generally leaders.

On the flipside, they are not very accommodating of the opinions of others and it may be difficult for them to show some form of weakness. In addition, others may feel intimidated by their strong character. They may be taken advantage of by other team members who may leave all or most of the work to them. They may be control freaks and clash with other strong characters just like themselves.

It is obvious that such people are a great asset to any organisation. However, they must be managed together with others who may not be as strong-willed to achieve overall organisational effectiveness.

Managing Strong-Willed People

How can this group of people be handled effectively so their full potential is harnessed for use?

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success” – Henry Ford

It may require some training to manage these human resource assets effectively. A few ways they can be managed include:-

  • Assign them roles that make optimum use of their energy and passion
  • Avoid any form of power struggle, especially in public.
  • Create avenues for communication so you really hear what they are saying. Engage them respectfully and listen objectively to understand
  • Try not to publicly rebuke them or shut them up.
  • Involve them in solution-oriented projects.
  • Provide some training and/or coaching for them. This can help to refocus and rechannel their energy where it’s needed more.

Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing” – Tom Peters.

It goes without saying that a strong-willed employee is an asset to any organisation,  as is any other personality. However, it will take effective leadership to harness most or all of the potential they possess. “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” – Frank A. Clark

Freda Abah-Dakou

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