I’ll be the first to say that being patient can be a struggle. In regards to parenting, I struggle with it just as often as my kids do. I need to be more patient with their behavior, as it is really a learning experience for them (and me). And, truthfully, it is all about figuring things out. When they “misbehave” they are looking to learn what happens; truthfully I might wish the learning was done in another way, but it is learning still.
I also need to be more patient with my actions as a parent. There is no right answer, or right way to do things, only other examples of how people are struggling through the same process. We just need to give things time, and do what we believe is best for those we love.
In the work realm I’ve got a slightly better handle on things, and tend to be more patient strategically, mostly because I’ve learned that what I often want to inquire about or push for, will soon become clear, or will be advocated for by someone else. After all, if I’m unsure about something, others are too, and if something seems amiss, it usually is.
The need for patience is particularly apparent when it comes to email. Electronic communication has changed our way of thinking. We want constant updates, constant details, constant conversation and verification. While it is nice to want these things, we have to remember that time rules all. An email sent a few hours ago without a response isn’t a problem; it also isn’t a problem to have no response a few days later.
We all communicate in different ways, and just like with parenting, there is no “right way” to do this. At the same time, I understand the inherent challenges of communicating electronically. So, if I won’t be able to get back to someone within a day, I try to send an email letting them know I’ve received their email, and I will be working on getting a response to them as soon as possible. That one sentence seems to ease people into a more patient mode better than a non-reply does.
The thing about patience is that we’re trained to be slightly less patient than we need to be. Prior to electronic communication, we often got anxious right before the mail carrier brought the mail we needed or right before we got the phone call we were waiting for. So, it becomes apparent that part of patience is realizing that we can’t truly expect to hear back from others on our schedule. Instead, we have to remember that schedules are personal, and that part of being an effective leader and learner is modifying ours to fit the workings of others.