What Leaders Can Learn From Forrest Gump’s Persistence

Hopefully at this point in your life, you’ve had the privilege of watching Forrest Gump. Generally people consider it to be a heartfelt film rife with comedic and tragic moments alike. It isn’t always thought of as a source for leadership development, but we would argue that people in leadership positions all over the world can take a page from Forrest’s book.

Forrest was portrayed as an upstanding individual who, despite his naïveté about the world around him, took chances. He harbored a strong moral compass and never shied away from doing the right thing.

Here’s what leaders can learn from Forrest Gump’s persistence:

Forrest Gump always remained true to himself

Never was there a more genuine soul than Forrest Gump. As leaders, you don’t want to get the reputation for being dishonest with your employees. You’re running the show. It’s essential that you gain their trust, otherwise they’ll find it difficult to maintain a positive working relationship with you.

A strained working relationship will affect the whole team’s overall performance. If your employees are performing poorly because they can’t foster a connection, then business will suffer. It’s all cyclical. So, never fail to be you. Being you is perhaps one of the most vital things you can do.

Forrest Gump persisted

Forrest set out to accomplish his goals and never faltered in the process. You should strive to keep your business running, not without a hitch, but with the mentality that you will overcome an hitch that comes your way. 

Remind your team that persistence for the greater good is key. Giving up isn’t an option.

Urge your team to set goals for themselves, regardless of how massive they may be. Morph those goals into tasks that can be easily accomplished. Divide the tasks into easily attainable, micro goals. That way checking them off the proverbial checklist will seem less daunting.

Forrest Gump performed to the best of his abilities

Eric Barkyoumb, manager at Dignity Health Foundation, shared how Forrest Gump inspired him in a myriad of ways regarding his career as a leader. He compared how the events of the movie realistically mirror how professional life plays out for many people.

“You try to do the best you can in your current role. Different doors open up when you don’t expect them to. You just try to make the best decision, take on new challenges and make the most out of every situation.”

Forrest gave 100% into everything he did. He was never one to funnel limited energy into even the most mundane of tasks. Encourage your team to adapt the Forrest approach to work.

 Of course, performing at maximum capacity comes with ease when one loves their job. So, make it easy for your team to exert every ounce of energy into their work by creating a culture that allows them to thrive.

Leaders lead by joining their team in the trenches. Soldiering alongside them as they forge ahead into the fray. You are as strong as your weakest link, so you should ensure that every team member is above par.

Forrest Gump embraced new opportunities

Remember Bubba Gump Shrimp Company? What started as a pipe dream from Forrest’s friend Bubba became a full-fledged reality. As a leader, you should embrace new opportunities when they present themselves.

That can be in the form of hiring new talent or expanding your business with beneficial partnerships. The only way to know for certain if something will pan out is if you take that chance.

In addition, you should encourage your team to embrace new opportunities. If there’s room for growth in the company, then support your employees if they wish to move up the ladder.

Forrest Gump was selfless

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” as the saying goes. Of course, you want to take care of yourself, but you also have a responsibility to care for your employees.

Encourage your team to lift each other up. Working together as one cohesive unit can yield successful results. Putting effort into the task at hand or ensuring the success of every team member will make your business a prosperous one.