Patience is a Virtue….Until You Have No Time

People are short on patience these days. They claim that they’re too overwhelmed, have too many commitments, and don’t have nearly enough time. If you ask them to be patient, they may lash out at you with an impatient burst of anger.

Leaders are as challenged as their employees in this regard. When they emote a burst of frustration when something isn’t finished within minutes after it was assigned, they’re adding to workplace stress.

Frequently, clients ask me how to handle this (it’s not necessarily the question they ask, by the way, but it’s the meaning behind the question).

The bottom line: You can’t have unrealistic expectations of your staff. They expect and respect deadlines and demands that are customary for your company and industry. It’s when you go overboard that problems arise.

Of course, there are times when you have to ask for more within ridiculous time frames. When you do this, remember the courtesies that leaders should demonstrate to their people. Simple things, such as saying “please” and “thank you”, make a big difference.

Show empathy. “I know this is asking a lot, but our client is relying on us to complete this three days earlier than the original deadline. We all need to pitch in and get it done” is so much more effective than, “I don’t care about your personal plans – just get it done”.

Finally, make these requests sparingly. If you’re constantly asking people to rush and deliver, it just becomes noise. Then everyone is cranky and forget about patience.

The irony is that you can almost get away with being impatient…if your demands are are peppered with some courtesy and empathy, and are parsed judiciously.

Have a great day!


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