Patience: The ability to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. (From my Mac dictionary.)
Synonyms: forbearance, tolerance, restraint, self-restraint, stoicism.
When I asked leaders about a skill they wished they had developed earlier in their career, many responded “patience.” It prompted me to reflect on what it means to show patience as a leader and how it enhances our positive impact on others. I also thought about patience as a skill because I have caught myself saying, “I’m so impatient” or, “I just don’t have the patience” so many times. But if patience is a skill, then surely, I can develop it. The question, therefore, is not, “Am I or am I not patient?” rather, “What do I need to change to show patience?”
What does patience mean in the context of leading?
To me, it means taking the time to understand others’ perspective before reacting. It means taking the time to help others understand our perspective without getting frustrated when they don’t get it, whatever the “it” might be (how to do something or a goal the school/company is working towards, etc.). Patience also means giving our team members the time they need to process information or learn to do something differently. It means understanding that no two brains are alike.