To Become A Great Leader, Consider ‘The Diligence Of The Ant’

There is an old Thai Proverb that encourages us, "To be as diligent as an ant." Diligence is an old leadership word that is not talked about much...

Photo: Ken Gosnell
; Credit: 
@c12 Group Photography

Photo: Ken Gosnell
; Credit: 
@c12 Group Photography

There is an old Thai Proverb that encourages us, “To be as diligent as an ant.” Diligence is an old leadership word that is not talked about much anymore. However, every great leader learns the secret of being diligent.

Buck Jacobs, Founder and Chairman of the C12 Group states that “Diligence is making a series of successful short-term steps that lead to long-term success. This is accomplished by keeping the vision and principles clearly in focus, not by pursuing quick and easy answers. Diligence doesn’t come naturally for most. It’s the result of strong character and sound leadership.”

Here’s a look at the four ways to become more diligent leaders and entrepreneurs.


1. Do the most important task of every day first.

One secret of very dynamic leaders is that they prioritize their day. Each night before going to bed, they think about the tasks that they should or could complete the next day. Then they make another important step.

They prioritize their list so that they know what task is the most important task to complete. Then when they awake the next day, they focus first on the most important task. This task triumphs emails, impromptu meetings, or other people’s agendas. This one step of diligence can improve productivity by 60 percent.

Coaching Question: Do your current plans reflect diligence? Do you know you most important task each day?


2. Do tasks intentionally and correctly rather than fast.

Business speed is important. Learning how to do more things faster can separate you and your business from the competition. However, doing things faster so that they have to be redone can lead to disaster for the firm.

The diligent leader focuses intently on the task at hand and does it right so that it does not have to be repeated. My father taught me the old truism that, “measure twice and cut once.” This old leadership teaching should be practiced in businesses of all sizes.

Coaching Question: When are you tempted to be rash, hurried or to overreact?


3. Give critical tasks high levels of energy.

The most valuable asset that a leader possesses is their energy. One key mistake that I often see managers make is giving the wrong amount of energy to unimportant or unnecessary tasks. Diligence means giving the right level of energy to the right task at the right time.

Coaching Question: When is your energy level the highest as a leader?


4. Overcome excuses that stop your diligence.

Excellent leaders never allow the excuses and obstacles of the day to prevent them from accomplishing what they were called to complete. The diligent leader longs to hear the words, “Well Done” at the end of each day knowing that they have given great effort for the right tasks to bring about the right results.

Coaching Question: What are the excuses you claim or often say for not being diligent? 


Solomon, the man that built the temple in Jerusalem in seven years, writes these words about diligence in Proverbs 21:5. He says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Solomon was reminding every great leader about how valuable diligence is to their success. Every leader can become a more diligent leader when we practice these four principles of diligence on a daily basis.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Ken Gosnell
 has an extensive business background. He has obtained master degrees in both business administration and divinity. He is a master trainer and founder of Kensalt Consulting. He has been recognized as one of the top 150 training consultants in world by the Dale Carnegie organization. His mission is to help business owners and entrepreneurs achieve success through peer advisory board and one on one coaching. Find out more about his process at 
The C12 Group. Connect with @CEOEXPERIENCE on Twitter.



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