When Restraint Takes You Further
Leaders are liars when they say they believe in developing others but don’t display patience. Patience is a gift of trust, humility, and confidence to those who aren’t there yet.
Growth implies potential but potential is a “not yet” term. Development, by definition, suggests inadequacy or lack.
Developing others demands patience.
Impatience, when applied to results, drives leaders and organizations toward success. Impatience with people, however, weakens the team.
Don’t be patient with:
- Unethical or immoral behavior.
- Lack of effort or laziness.
- Low aptitude – reassign.
- Repeated failure.
- Destructive attitudes.
Patience only has meaning when you could act but don’t. Passivity and fear aren’t patience. Patient leaders intentionally and courageously give space – exercise restraint – for development and growth .
Patient leaders possess trust, humility, and confidence.
- Patience is trusting – believing in – the potential of others.
- Patience is humbly holding back your knowing in order to facilitate the knowing of others and then celebrating their growth. It never says, “I knew that.”
- Patience confidently says, “You have more in you.”
Patience is impatient concerning progress.
Patient leaders put themselves on the line by investing their leadership collateral in potential. Your efforts may not turn out well. Projects may take longer. Invest in those with character, aptitude, and positive attitudes. Assure success by going with:
- Openness to learning. Those who already know, have performance potential but don’t have growth potential. People who acknowledge they don’t know have taken the first step toward learning.
- Respect. You influence those who respect you.
Go with proven experience on high profile, high risk ventures. Don’t assign someone who’s in the process of development to projects that could crush them or destroy you.
How has the patience of others helped you?
When is impatience in order?
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Post in a picture by Larry Coppenrath: Patient Leadership
I appreciate the list of ” Do not be patient with”. It is very relevant and real. Leaders need to check efforts and intention in the process. When others make efforts in positive direction and have good intention then leaders need to be patient. But it is not enough. Leaders need to check capability of others. When others can do 90 percent effort but putting less than that, leadership skill comes into play. Leaders need to enhance that effort to increase up to maximum possible limit. So, increasing the positive effort to the maximum does not need patience. On the other side, deliberate resistance to put maximum effort needs patience. It means, leaders need to work out on inertia that prevents efforts. Inertia is root cause of effort. So, leaders need to hit root cause of impatience.
There is another and perhaps unique category. People who use their mind with limited experience and claims that they are right. How to shake them up. These kind of people are insensitive, rigid and constant criticizers. I say this out of my experience.It is really challenge to motivate or mend people with rigidity and self satisfying definition of what is right and wrong.
Thanks for sharing your insights.
I hear you saying that know-it-all’s are a challenge when it comes to patience. It’s one of the areas I have little patience.
Perhaps the only way know it all’s grow is through failure that humbles them…
I think as leaders and as human beings we always try to understand the motivations of the people around us. Unfortunately we do that not by talking with them but only by observing their actions. Very often impatient people see things that don’t meet their expectations and assume negative intent. When I looked a your list of things not to be patient with, I remembered times when impatient leaders assumed those things existed simply because they didn’t like the outcome of someone’s performance. So patience like so many other things requires good open communicaiton about what happened and listening without expectations.
You really added an important component of a conversation about patience/impatience… Assumptions can always be dangerous but they are particularly troubling when we choose impatience because of them..
Thanks for extending the conversation.
What an absolutely truthful post! Words of widsom and kindness. My favorite also is the don’t list. Sometimes people will take advantage of your kindess and misunderstand it for weakness. Thanks for encouraging words!
Thanks for the good word…
You are right on… patience can be perceived as weakness. Frankly, what looks like patience may be weakness…
While writing this post I though of my conversation with Denny Strigl who said one secret to his success (CEO of Verizon Wireless) was impatience… I took it that he was impatient for results…I’m not sure if he was with people.
He also said that if we are going to be impatient…everyone must believe we are motivated by the good of the company.
Impatience is warranted:
– Illegal activities
– Unethical actions
– Someone is going to get hurt literally or figuratively
Thanks Steve… great adds 🙂
A leaders judgement becomes so critical in these situations.. When we become frustrated with another’s progress they often read it as a vote of no-confidence. To-the-point and frequent communication is critical, as well as reminding them where they stand in the overall time picture. You have to think Belechick/Brady you can not run onto the field for them…likewise they must trust your play calling and execute. IMO Great leaders are defined by these kinds of sensitivities.
Also, I strongly agree with your point “don’t allow others to be crushed.” this builds loyalty in the individual and team.
I hear the voice of experience in your comment.
There’s a thin line between being pushy and motivating people – of saying you can do better and making people feel abused.
Love the confidence/no-confidence dynamic you suggest.
Thanks for adding value.
Liked the post and its contents. Your listing of 7 points for not remaining patient is quite good. The leader has to act ruthlessly and see that the misceants get warned and punished. Probably in serious cases, sacking is the only option and it should be implemented earnestly. The damages can otherwise be beyond control. Remaining goody-goody, silent or no action can be disastorous.
Your list of invest category is also good if the leader is having fairness and transperant in his approach for selecting the best potential class of people for important assignments and further grooming.
Things in reality are not as simple as you have described. One needs full support of the higher ups [top management] and empowerment to deal with problematic employees.
Dear Dr. Asher,
Thanks for your comment and especially the last paragraph…so true. If we are fully aligned with top leadership we’re walking on thin ice.
I enjoyed your use of the term “ruthless.” I don’t take it to be mean or hateful but unbending when it comes to excellence..
Makes me think of Eli Broad’s new book. “The Art of Being Unreasonable”
Best to you,
Another excellent blog post! And the image of the horse is so fitting. The same principles apply to work with horses. As an equine professional, I can say that patience is at the core of what I do. When I didn’t have it when I should have had it, I got in trouble. Where others failed due to lack of it, I excelled. With horses, it always boils down to patience and they put your true leadership skills to a test every time. That’s why Equine Assisted Leadership Training is such a wonderful tool for growth. Thanks for this!!
I can see evidence of the six investment steps in how my boyfriend has helped me become a weightlifter. I know that because he respected my rather mediocre efforts at the beginning I didn’t give up. Now we are able to help each other where it feels very even keel.
Thank you for your very insightful posts!
Excellent post. My favorite part- patience confidently says, “have more in you” I think patience involves creating quiet urgency without pressure.
It is especially hard for Europeans or North Americans to be patient. It is not an attitude you grow up with but so important. I learnt a lot about patience in Africa and Latin America. I learnt not only to value but appreciate it. Those 2 continents are good training places, (for me). Thanks for sharing your interesting insights! 🙂
Some things are worth waiting for and that is the same when you exercise patience and see that employee nail something it is very rewarding!! I wanted to entice the restraint with reward.
I agree with you. Patience is a necessary virtue when it comes to people because your impatience could cause you to miss out on a person who can ultimately bring value to your team.
Great post Dan. I enjoyed your comment about differentiating performance from development. The former is for the moment and the latter will always wait for the ever changing tomorrow. Good leaders recognize great performance but great leaders always push for growth and development. There are no true experts only those that know and do it better at the moment. The “ladder” is what is important not your position on it. Help those below you and aspire to those above you. “The ultimate beneficiary of generosity is the one performing the act.” (Joe Tye) just like one’s receptiveness enhances those that provide for us.
Patience is the quiet that comforts failure and fuels the courage to try again. We are all always learning and teaching when we can. There is joy in both. We must never forget to be patient with ourselves, forgive our failures, but learn from them. The gift of patience is great to give but we must own it first before we can give it. Great Post Dan, thank you.
Reblogged this on Snippets from the web and commented:
The problem with people having patience with you is that you’ll never know when it’s going to end; either that or you’re constantly on tenterhooks searching for signs of the patience waning and the impatience waxing. No doubt if the person is a newcomer to the land of patience they’ll suddenly jerk out of it giving you a jolt out of the blue too. There won’t be any nice warning signs at all. That’s the scary part: the Jekyll and Hyde feel.
As for any times impatience is a virtue? Apparently a short burst of stress helps to boost the immune system! And also the adrenalin rush can push people to achieve higher, more and faster – just like in competitive sports. People don’t know what they can do until they reach the brink of the precipice and are forced to make that decision without too much over-thought and second-guessing. However, impatience will lead to chronic stress amongst those that surround you and chronic stress not only impais the immune system but is also reponsible for many complex ailments. I won’t be surprised if people start to become allergic or even systemically intolerant of stress in the near future!! *tongu-firmly-in-cheek*