We often talk about leadership styles in terms of theoretical and practical applications or in definitions of individual characteristics – but throughout all of those discussions I have yet to hear the term patience be regarded as a fundamental leadership quality. Upon further reflection (and some personal “character-building” endeavors these last few days), I can say without hesitation that patience is an essential cornerstone in the foundation of good leadership.
Without patience, a good leader cannot effectively serve his or her followers –because from patience comes other important leadership qualities like grace, dignity and poise.
The patient leader is not anxious, hasty or quick tempered. Instead of rash decision-making and precipitous anger, the patient leader is always deliberate and maintains a sense of self-control. Because the leader is patient he or she knows how to prioritize, compartmentalize and respond to any situation, even in the face of adversity, good fortune or suffering.
Patience isn’t easy. So here are a few quotes to inspire the patient leader in all of us:
“A man who is a master of patience is a master of everything else.” – George Savile
“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” –Saint Augustine
“I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a ‘transformer’ in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.” – Stephen Covey
Do you think patience is an important leadership quality? Can impatient leaders be effective? What are some ways we can practice patience daily?