“Anyone who has gumption knows what it is, and anyone who hasn’t can never know what it is. So there is no need of defining it.” -Lucy Maude Montgomery
I like the word, GUMPTION! It’s an old fashioned word, probably of Scottish origin (or so the Dictionary states) and not used much anymore. Gumption is defined as:
gump·tion [guhmp-shuhn]noun Informal . 1. initiative; aggressiveness; resourcefulness: (“With his gumption he’ll make a success of himself.”) 2. courage; spunk; guts: (“It takes gumption to quit a high-paying job>”) 3. common sense; shrewdness.
I think I like the word Gumption because it displays power and force even when you say it. It explodes from one’s lips. It’s hard to whisper the word. Gumption carries its own explosive charge both in tone and meaning. I also like this word because it implies a combination of tenacity, courage, common sense and positivity all rolled into one. Definitely a word I would associate with some of the better traits of leaders and leadership.
I believe, especially in today’s world of sound bytes and factual bits, gumption in leadership has been more or less replaced by cleverness, glibness, big talking, and brashness. Notice that none of these words are in the definition of Gumption. If I could be allowed to make a bold statement, and one in which I believe after my 35 years of working with CEOs and senior executive teams, then it would be this:
There ain’t enough gumption in leaders today!
Old fashioned leadership gumption tells it like it is; pushes politics to the back burner and gets on with the agenda no matter what; is direct and fair; demands accountability and gives loyalty; speaks softly and delivers big; praises initiative and boots out the risk-averse.
Anyone know a quick and easy test for “gumption“?
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress