Are You an Impatient Leader?
For the most part, I am not a patient person. I know this about myself. I tend to be action-oriented and can become easily disappointed, and even annoyed, when things don’t happen as quickly as I like. Fortunately, I am slowly learning that I do not, and can not, control all of my circumstances or experiences. Nor do I need to have total control. I am also realizing that patience does not require me to surrender my passion for progress. Truth be known, increased patience has allowed me to experience my passion and real influence more fully.
Many of you know that I lived and worked in Ethiopia in 2008 helping to transform the state-owned telecommunications industry. Like others on the team, I was passionate about making a difference since quality telecommunications was fundamental and foundational to making improvements in education, commerce and healthcare. Through improved telecommunications, we had an opportunity to improve the quality of life for the peoples of Ethiopia.
But, time and pace were very different in Addis Ababa. I felt like I was swimming in molasses most of the time. Decisions and actions seemed to take “forever”. Being immersed in the local culture, however, slowed my velocity and forced me to connect with the present moment. I learned that patience does not require me to relinquish my desire for improvements. I also learned that influence does not require complete control. Navigating the stream does not require me to redirect the river. Ironically, patience enables me to taste the “sweetness” of my passion for leadership more fully.
Patient leadership is NOT an oxymoron!