The Dark Secrets of Patience
Speaking softly while red-faced with anger isn’t patience. Self-control proves you aren’t a two-year old.
You can’t be patient and upset at the same time.
Impatience is frustrated with delay and annoyed with disappointment. I hate waiting in lines! Pasting on a smile doesn’t turn self-control into patience.
Patience doesn’t pace the floor while tamping down disappointment.
Impatience with patience:
Higher ups – whose bonuses depend on meeting the numbers – can’t afford patience.
I’ve heard braggards spouting off about pressuring people. But I haven’t heard many leaders brag about patience.
Ego considers patience a vice, not a virtue. Arrogance is intolerant and bombastic. Braggards reject patience.
Impatience gets things done. Patience is too slow for ego-driven leaders.
Patience is fanciful optimism when everything is about the numbers.
5 uncomfortable truths about patience:
- Rejects the need for everything to be the best.
- Gives second chances.
- Tolerates weakness.
- Accepts irritation.
- Doesn’t complain.
Show me a patient leader and I’ll show you someone people trust.
Aspiration elevates patience.
Patience accepts what is and works to improve. Lack of aspiration is lethargy, not patience.
The ability to respect people and challenge them is leaderly patience. But tolerating incompetence is negligent encouragement.
Progress justifies patience.
Patience dances on the edge of average but doesn’t camp there. Second chances are opportunities to improve, not validation of mediocrity.
The tough side of patience:
Grit lifts patience above apathy.
Patience pulls for improvement while accepting current attainment. Beating people up for past failure doesn’t motivate them to reach high in the future.
You might beat people into conformity, but you lose their hearts. Worse yet, they lose heart.
Patience practices realistic optimism.
It’s not patience to expect performance from incompetence. It’s delusion.
Patience with people means sticking with them while you manage them out.
How might leaders practice patience?
How is patience developed?
How might leaders practice patience? Understanding our parents and teachers if they showed us patience we learned from them if they blew a gasket we learned from them. They say “patience is a virtue”, some of us are blessed with it. I learned the hard way, listening till someone finishes speaking often times answers the question before we ask them. Many Times we tend to interrupt someone only to find they were getting to that part.
How is patience developed? Learning to read facial expressions is one for sure, sometimes to can see the frustration on ones faces as they speak. ” Learning to listen” is one of my favorites, countless times. Did you not hear what I said? Pay attention and we won’t need to repeat things, easier said than done if your a Parent, Teacher or mentor. There are also the challenges of disabilities that jump out, often we need to know our audience, sometimes they have unknown issues that we don’t know, so don’t judge the cover till you read the book/individuals.
I struggle with patience and typically when asked, “where is your patience?” I point to my husband… It is easier for me to be patient with others than myself.
Recently, I had a not-so-subtle experience with patience. I went whale watching with my daughter on a 3.5-hour trip. Three hours in, still no whales. I realized that looking for a lone humpback whale was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Needless to say, many times throughout the trip I was losing my patience. Something happened at the 2.5-hour mark. I reminded myself that I love processes. I told my daughter that we are enjoying a beautiful day on the water, amazing visibility, NYC on the horizon, and time with each other. My patience grew as I appreciated the moment. And then, after more than three hours, we saw it. A humpback whale, giant and gorgeous, and then another. The collective gasp on the boat was beyond fulfilling.
You say that “Patience practices realistic optimism.” Yes!
Thanks Bardohn… I sure am glad your story ended on a positive note!
Appreciate the process…what a powerful challenge and opportunity for patience. Impatience is about getting what you want, NOW. Patience appreciates the process. Brilliant.
BTW…patience helps us enjoy the moment. That’s another useful insight. We can’t be frustrated and patient at the same time.
Wow, Tim. Connecting patience and listening makes this topic TOO practical. Thank you.
If I want to develop patience, learn to listen calmly. 🙂
Part of the reason for a lack of patience is the common experience is that patience is not delayed gratification, it’s actually delayed disappointment. Patiently waiting for something that doesn’t actually happen has just managed to waste the time you had where you might have done something about it!
Thanks Mitch. Yes, I see what you mean. I would prefer that patience is waiting – while taking action – for growth or results. Passivity doesn’t seem leaderly to me, at least in most cases.
I believe a good leader that has patience should be wary of procrastination. Patience with someone completing a new task, even for the 3rd or 4th time is fine if you want people to perform that task well. Some may get it the first time, others may require more patience.
Procrastination though should be fairly easy to recognize when little or no attempt is made to perform the task. Procrastination should not rewarded with more patience.
A good leader should also know how much patience is needed for various team members and recognize it will likely be variable.
Dan, you asked, “How is patience developed?” I believe patience is developed in a few different ways. One of the first steps is to identify areas in our lives that we are impatient that needs improving. We can take the steps to understand these areas that are lacking patience. For example, I have a personality of fixing things and wanting to fixing things fast. I like to have a solution to the problem quickly and move quickly to fix the issue. Sometimes, a quick solution is what is exactly needed, but other times, having patience and processing the entire situation, a different solution would better fix the problem. After identifying, another way to develop patience is take the necessary steps to improve patience. These steps could be reading a blog like Leadership Freak, a book on patience with detailed steps or even a podcast. Identifying and taking the steps to improve patience are a couple way to develop patience.