My first three hours in Six Sigma training were infuriating. The instructor was reading the text-dense slides…with pauses…and repeating portions of the text for “emphasis.” (I despise having slides read to me.) The whole premise seemed elementary. (I’m thinking, “I have a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, and this is just the experimental method with different nomenclature!”) Three whole days of this!
Impatience, impatience, impatience.
At the lunch break, I checked my email. Message from my boss: “Glenn, let them deliver the content at the pace they want to.” He was smart enough to know what my experience was going to be.
Being patient might be defined as having a good attitude the whole time you’re waiting.
When should leaders be patient? Maybe more helpful, when should leaders be impatient?
I recommend the following guideline to help make the decision: Be easy to please and difficult to satisfy.
I vividly remember a field demonstration of an updated 2-row combine with customized data collection tools. The CEO expressed his admiration and said thanks to the team. The small crowd applauded, and then the CEO held up his hands. “When will I see the 4-row model?” he asked. It was a great demonstration of “Be easy to please and difficult to satisfy.”
Recognize good work and progress, even where incomplete or not yet adequate. Give people broad allowances for the time to learn new skills, or tackle new challenges. But don’t slack on your standards. Continuous improvement is a must. The only easy day was yesterday. Use whatever phraseology is appropriate.
Let patience be your default state when working with people. Patience (which is strongly correlated with self-control) wins the bigger battles.
Be consistently impatient for progress and deliverables, pushing people on timelines and quality of execution. Choose to be the leader that pushes people to the next level of performance through high expectations.