What is Mental Toughness?
Mental Toughness is a personality trait that indicates one’s ability to perform consistently under stress and pressure.
It is a state of mind and as such can be developed and improved in the same way as a physical state.
It has its origins in sport but in recent years has become recognised as a critically important trait in education, health community services and in the corporate sector.
What are the benefits?
There are three key proven benefits in being mentally tough which relate to:
Performance – mentally tough people deliver more, work more purposefully, show greater commitment to purpose and are more competitive. This translates into better output, delivery on time and on target and better attendance.
Behaviour – mentally tough people are more positive, have more “can do”, respond positively to change and adversity, more likely to contribute to a positive culture, accept responsibility and volunteer for new opportunities and activities.
Wellbeing – mentally tough people show better stress management, better attendance, are less likely to develop mental health issues, sleep better and are less prone to bullying. They can take stress in their stride.
A mentally tough organisation is more resilient, with a more positive culture and performs at a higher level. To be able to create a mentally tough, high performance and positive culture within their organisation, it is important for leaders and aspiring leaders to be mentally tough themselves.
How can you measure Mental Toughness using MTQ48?
The most widely known and used mental toughness measure is the MTQ48 psychometric measure which has been developed by Professor Peter Clough, Professor of Positive Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, in conjunction with Doug Strycharczyk, MD of AQR, a leading UK psychometrics organisation.
The measure identifies 4 components within mental toughness namely Control, Commitment, Challenge and Confidence which are defined as follows:
Control – your “can do” state of mind
You believe you shape what happens to you and you can manage your emotions when doing it.
Commitment – your “stick-ability”
Describes to what extent you will “make promises” and the extent to which you will keep those promises.
Challenge – your “drive”
Describes to what extent you see challenges, change, adversity and variety as opportunities or as threats.
Confidence – your “self-belief”
Describes the extent to which you believe you have the ability to successfully tackle the challenges and opportunities you face and the inner strength to stand your ground and influence others when needed.
The control and commitment scales reflect resilience while challenge and confidence reflect confidence and both are vital within Mental Toughness.
- valid and reliable (as per the US Department of Labor and the British Psychological Society)
- simple to use and understand
- quick to complete taking 8-10 minutes online.
MTQ48 produces three main reports:
Development Report for use by the individual in learning how to develop their Mental Toughness.
Coaching Report for use by the manager or coach of the individual to develop their Mental Toughness.
Assessor Report provides interview questions specific to the individual for use by the hiring manager in recruitment and selection.
MTQ48 is a contemporary measure developed in modern times and is now widely used in the UK, Europe, Middle East and increasingly in Australia and the Asia Pacific because it is relevant for situations and challenges of the modern day society and workplace.
Whilst there is no gender bias, research has shown there are some cultural differences between western societies, which tend to show a higher degree of Mental Toughness than those in the Middle East or Asia.
How can Mental Toughness be developed?
The benefit of the MTQ48 test is that the process and the results encourage reflection, conversation and visibility around a person’s mindset towards Mental Toughness. This enables one to draw a line in the sand regarding a commitment to change and development of Mental Toughness using appropriate interventions which could include positive thinking, goal setting, attentional control or visualisation.