Put your hand up if you don’t mind getting stuck in traffic. Where I live, traffic snarl-ups can be legendary! My patience is tested at every turn.
Depending on the time of day, a 10-kilometer run takes fifteen minutes or two to four hours. If it rains, roll out the cameras. The same trip transforms into an epic. But more disturbing narrative is the abhorring behavior of some drivers.
They try to get ahead by all means possible. Some drive on sidewalks or overlap straight into oncoming traffic. The worst kind merge into an already busy intersection, with nowhere to go!
And the latter scenario is where I found myself a few days ago. With this ineptitude, tempers flared. Then everything came to a complete standstill. Impatience got the better of everyone.
The resulting bedlam was full of angry words and flared tempers. What would have taken a few minutes to resolve dragged to a 20-minute altercation.
Patience is a virtue.
Here are my five top reasons why leaders must be patient at every opportunity.
1. Goals are fulfilled better
Consider this caption from a cartoon by Randy Glasbergen. “I’m learning to relax, doctor – but I want to relax better and faster! I want to be on the cutting edge of relaxation!”
I have a Type-A personality. For a long time, impatience was one of my marked characteristics. And this is how I would approach all goals I set for myself (and others).
It has been a year since I began to learn patience. And the results have been remarkable! My approach to goals shifted from a pure destination. I started to enjoy the journey towards achieving those goals. And this meant being willing to wait… have patience. It felt like watching the paint dry. But now, I can’t wait to embark on my goals for the coming year.
2. Emotional intelligence improves
Emotional intelligence is the ability to filter bias from ones environment. Says Dr. Tina B. Tessina, a psychotherapist… “It’s the ability to read other people’s feelings, and respond in an appropriate way.”
With emotional intelligence, you are able to also focus on people’s needs. You aren’t engrossed in yourself only. According to Dr. Daniel Goleman, there are five characteristics of emotional intelligence. These are Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills.
Without patience, it is impossible to grow these characteristics. This has been the most astonishing lesson over the last eleven months. Being more patient enables me to better connect with people. Before, impatience had stunted my ability to lead.
3. Focus is on quality questions
Emotional intelligence provides a platform for positive inquiry. Quality questions are the pillars of this platform. The questions start from a vantage of wanting to engage the other party at a deeper level. It is about having genuine interested in them. Not just what they can do for you or you get from them.
For example, you meet up with someone for the first time. You know that they can help you resolve something you are struggling with. And you go straight for the kill and ask a direct question. Our innate nature responds in one of two ways – fight or flee. What if you approached the same person wanting to know them first? Here, your emotional intelligence kicks in.
You frame your questions to build a common ground. It isn’t about convincing someone how they will enjoy you, your product or service. Instead, ask them for their opinion. When they know you care about how they feel. It gives them an opportunity to try your offering.
4. Opens possibilities
Patience helps us to remain rational especially during difficult times. When we are patient, we are able to properly analyze other perspectives. In doing so, we can also identify our shortfalls, errors and failures. This helps us to learn from our experiences.
Practicing patience has opened up many opportunities for me. Before, I just wanted to cut straight to the point. In the urgency to get things done, I missed out on connection points. I forgot to enjoy the journey. In the end, I achieved my desired outcomes but they were devoid of joy.
To connect, be patient. Give first before you ask from others.
5. Patience says ‘I care’
A leader must be show empathy. This is the ability to understand and appreciate the feelings of others. Empathy and impatience don’t take well to each other. Patience significantly reduces the chance of misunderstanding each other.
Every party is able to express themselves without undue interruption. Consider letting someone go ahead of you at the supermarket checkout. Or allowing another driver to merge onto road before you. These simple acts of patience project a sense of care and community.
Why is patience so important? Because it makes us pay attention.” ~Paulo Coelho
Q: How has patience [or impatience] affected your work or relationships? Have your say by clicking here.