Are You Practicing Patience as a Leader?

Susan S Freeman Blog

patienceThe hot days of mid-summer have me thinking about patience. 

As the temperatures rise ever higher, I’ve been thinking about slowing down—moving less quickly and more deliberately.  Maybe it’s the heat, but I’ve noticed that I’m becoming more patient.

This week’s Step Up Leader Tip is inspired by David Emerald, author of TED, “The Empowerment Dynamic.”  It reveals the value of cultivating patience as a leadership practice.  We are invited to examine how our reactive habits around “fast-action,” can impede us and others.

“From one-minute manager to one-minute workouts to one-minute millionaires (all popped up on a quick internet search on “one minute”), our culture reinforces the belief that we can create results fast. And such a belief creates the pressure for quick results.

While there are times when speed and efficiency are important, such a mindset is very often rooted in the problem-focused, anxiety-based and reactive Victim Orientation. When this happens, the  Rescuing role surfaces and there’s intense pressure to help, please and fix any discomfort. The  Persecuting role feeds on impatience also by compulsively needing to be right, control or take charge – now!

Impatience is almost always fear-based. As contemporary poet and philosopher, Mark Nepo, observes: “Fear wants us to act too soon.” (Book of Awakening; July 7 reading.)

We know all too well how this feels and we can easily succumb to the seduction that all our projects need to get done… quickly! However, creating often takes time.

As a Creator, learning to practice patience in the process of producing outcomes is an important discipline.

Patience is distinct from procrastination.   We love this perspective from Fulton J. Sheen:

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is ‘timing.’ It waits for the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”

Patience is vital to your creating outcomes. Slowing down and taking the time to really pay attention to current conditions and options can open the gateway to your intuition, which can inform your possible Baby Steps.”

Here are a few of my suggestions to get you started:

  1. Breathe deeply through your nose, inhaling through your nose instead of your mouth. Place one hand on the belly and feel it expand.  Exhale even more slowly than inhale, noticing your body’s sensations as you do so.
  2. Move.  Stagnant energy gets created when sitting for long periods of time.  Get up and move your body; walk, stretch, dance, laugh.  Anything that changes the status quo.
  3. Create an intention.  Allow time for reflection so you can access your intuition.
  4. Get curious.  What is it that is most important here?
  5. Invite others to co-create and bring their best to the problem at hand.

Patience is a leadership practice worth cultivating. 

Although it may feel as if you are moving slowly at first, don’t be fooled.  You may just find richer, deeper, and more successful outcomes.

To learn more about how to develop patience as a leader, contact me.

We invite you to post your comments here.

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