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.

Disappointed puppy.

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:


  1. Rejects the need for everything to be the best.
  2. Gives second chances.
  3. Tolerates weakness.
  4. Accepts irritation.
  5. Doesn’t complain.

Leaderly patience:

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?