Patience: The Underrated Leadership Skill

Now! Now! Now! I want it now!!! We are teaching a generation that instant gratification, instant results, and instant promotions are how business works. Even with the pace of information today, patience is still required to have sustained growth and developing success in an organization.

Patience with people. We wish we had Matrix learning, where we sit in a chair and someone uploads information like new software into our brains, but that isn’t reality. People develop at their own pace. No one picks up a guitar and plays Van Halen on the first try. It takes patience and focus over time to be elite. I can hear the manager now, “I don’t have time to wait!” This is where a manager needs to have good instincts with people. Are they slow, but going to get there and perform, or do you need to cut your losses and move on? The timing of that choice can be critical. Remember Bill Belichick, arguably the best coach in NFL history, was once the head coach of the Cleveland Browns and fired from that position.

Patience with results. If only we had a scoreboard and season like the sports we love to watch. Business is daily and the season is 12 months a year. Results, progress and growth take time. If some progress is happening and the trend is in the right direction, keep on keeping on. If the results aren’t hitting realistic targets, then adjustments need to be made. Be cautious not to go for the “full reboot” when an incremental adjustment is sufficient.

Leaders can be their own worst critic. Sometimes life knocks you sideways and you lose ground. The journey is still the journey, and the diligence and patience it takes to be sustainably successful doesn’t happen in a month. Great leaders have the patience to steadily grow. I’ve seen too many times an insecure owner was losing ground and instead of trying to properly rebuild and strengthen through growth, she swung for the fences. That was an all-or-nothing decision that didn’t need to be made. The journey to success is an individual one. Have the patience to find your journey and persevere to stay the course to achieve your own success. Sometimes you have to cut yourself a break, in order to do the hard growth that takes time.