Wednesday, July 9, 2014

You can be patient or become one

Raise your hand if you have been advised to develop more patience. [picturing all hands up]

Raise your hand if you heeded the advice. [picturing fewer hands up]
I was advised to do the same earlier in my career, and I recall thinking patient people were just slow, out of touch, and wishy-washy. Why couldn’t they just make a decision, I bemoaned. One of my mottos to this day is, “Let’s go!” which is not really the motto of patient people.

It has taken me a while, but it turns out, those advising of patience knew what they were talking about. I finally have developed patience and have observed five things about it that are worth sharing:
  1. Patience brings perspective. If you slow down to think things through, you are more capable of seeing more to the story of any situation. The newly expanded perspective will enable you to present yourself better to others.
  2. Patience yields better results. When you are calm, cool, and collected, your brain works differently than when it is under duress; therefore, you are able to be more creative and identify better solutions for whatever is causing the impatience.
  3. Patience builds relationships. Our leaders are pressured to improve performance, while staff is pressured to do more with less. Our leaders want to build effective teams, while staff wants decisions made faster. The complexity of business today adds to the pressure everyone feels, and it is testing patience of staff at all levels. Today’s workplace calls for patience, as does the marketplace.
  4. Patience opens eyes and doors. When you are patient with someone who sees things differently than you, you can learn from them. Your openness can lead to more opportunities.
  5. Patience is a mirror. When you get impatient with a colleague (or, child), think about the cause of your impatience. You might discover that you contributed to the cause of your own impatience and frustration. Perhaps you didn’t train the colleague well or were unclear about expectations.
The next time you get impatient with someone, reflect on the bigger picture, potential solutions, your relationship, opportunities, and your contribution to the situation. Your reflection will allow you to see your maturity as a leader and your impact on others. Patience is not about waiting a long time; it is about how one behaves while waiting.

What else have you noticed about patience?

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