Like the lighting in a room sets the mood, patience, as a leadership practice, sets the mood for the work environment. It creates an environment that’s safe for people to make mistakes, have healthy conflict and take calculated risks.
The power of a patient leader doesn’t come from position or some form of outer authority, but it creates deep inner authority with those being lead.
A patient leader who exhibits self-control is a role model for how team members will approach their work and one another. How can a leader expect the team or organization to exhibit self-control and take self-responsibility if he or she repeatedly displays impatience?
A Leader’s patience is evidenced in all areas of organizational life, not just interpersonal relationships. The leader conveys an inner strength that enables them to encounter difficulty without becoming frustrated and also not wavering from their objectives. When you act with patience, you recognize things do not always go smoothly and continue working towards the common goal.
Everyone wins with this type of environment. Engagement and commitment rise and the bottom-line rises too.
The following table is a quick reference on the signs when patience is being practiced (health) and when there’s an opportunity to upgrade patience (dysfunction) as a leadership characteristic.
|Signs of dysfunction||Signs of health|
|The normal tone of voice is raised or loud||The tone of voice is measured and not dictated by the circumstances|
|The choice of words have a tone of disappointment, frustration and sometimes anger||The choice of words are normally in the form of questions to inquire what can be learned and almost never convey judgment|
|Feedback sessions are emotional events||Feedback is given once emotions have cooled and are fact based|
|Public forums are used to hold a team member accountable||Accountability only happens in private with those specifically involved|
|A common tactic after delegating a task is to “hover” or micromanage the person and task||Delegation is thorough and the task is clearly defined so that micromanagement isn’t necessary|
|New ideas or processes that aren’t immediately effective are tossed out||New ideas and processes are monitored and evaluated closely when determining what should be implemented|
Use these questions to privately reflect or to discuss in a group of peers who are looking to upgrade their patience:
Who are your leadership role models for patience? What behaviors did they display?
What is a lack of patience costing you in your leadership role?
Where will you practice patience in your leadership this week?