Manage Impatience (Your Own)

So many reasons to be impatient, aren’t there?

Impatient with the snail’s pace of how decisions are made. Impatient with colleagues who don’t get their stuff done. Impatient with yet another layer of process. Impatient with incompetence. Impatience with folks who lie. Impatient with the status quo.

And yet, if you’re the one who gets impatient in a meeting, they suddenly call you an arrogant sonofabitch. What’s up with that? Patience is a virtue. Impatience is a bigger virtue.

Your business needs you to be impatient. It also needs you to be effective. For nearly every executive I coach, impatience at some point starts to have a mind of its own. It starts to run the show. Not effective. How do you channel your impatience instead of impatience channeling you? Clarification: The source of your impatience is likely pure. The expression of your impatience just as likely crosses the line to self-righteousness. Impatient folks tend to be 3 steps ahead of the game, at all times. That’s a blessing and a curse. Shift out of the impatient lone-wolf mindset. Create a fellow tribe of impatient wolves, instead. One wolf-conversation at a time.

• Appreciate folks whose opinions differ from yours.

We can smell when you don’t mean it, so mean it. Show us in words, in tone. When you don’t mean it you’re right back in self-righteous territory. • When you make a suggestion, shift into neutral. Let impatience fuel your suggestion. Let it not color your suggestion. And certainly don’t let impatience BE the suggestion. An expression of impatience gets you nowhere. Fast. • Do better-future-talk. Impatience is rooted in the present state and past events. As messed up as the present and past may be, walk your colleagues into better-future-talk. Make your suggestions specific, actionable, and above all, desirable. That’s where commitment begins. • Let go of the notion that you know better. You likely have a terrific idea. Great idea for a perfect world. Your workplace, alas, is not a perfect world. It sucks, I know. That, of course, is why you have the impatience-fueled idea in the first place. Annoying Catch-22. The only idea that succeeds is the idea they can hear. Lead your impatience to the idea they can hear. Nothing else matters. Celebrate your impatience. Grab it by its horns. Transmute it into conversations that spill with ferocious kindness. That’s what effective looks like.