Are you often frustrated with other people when things do not go as fast as you expect? Maybe you do not even realize it. Do you notice your team becoming easily flustered or feeling stressed around you in those times?
We talk a lot about how great leaders can use co-creative leadership to develop their teams. The fourth key skill of a co-creative leader is about building the capacity of your team by creating space for them to learn.
Many leaders want quick results from their teams and get impatient when this does not happen. Their impatience can come out in many different ways. What is sure is that a leader's impatience can be counterproductive.
In this article, we will discuss why it is critical for you to manage your impatience and the 4-step process to help you handle it in order to build a high-performing team.
First though, you must become aware of what your leadership game is and what it creates around you. You may be too caught up in the day-to-day to notice when you are starting to become impatient with your team.
Awareness is the first step to manage your impatience. To start, take some time to ask yourself these questions and reflect:
1. In what conditions does my frustration or impatience appear? Is it in team meetings, late in the day when you are tired, or when you are busy multitasking?
2. What triggers it? Do you get impatient when things go too slowly for your liking, when there is a moment of silence in a group conversation, or when you face obstacles you had not expected?
3. What are my behaviours? How do you start acting in those moments? Do you start interrupting people? Do you give them your solution instead of letting them brainstorm?
4. What does it create for me and my team? Work on noticing how your team perceives the signs of your impatience and what it creates. Are they suddenly afraid of speaking up? Do they start running around trying to achieve things as fast as possible without taking the time to think?
It is OK to feel this frustration, but you need to learn not to act on it. Building your team's capacity is a bit like growing your muscles in the gym. If you are always pushing them to quick results through your impatience, they will not build the skills they need to thrive as a team.
When you notice yourself becoming impatient, stop what you are doing. Notice what is going through your mind. Take a few moments to center yourself. This does not have to be complicated or take time. You only need to find a strategy that works for you.
One simple thing you can do is sit in your chair, loosen up your shoulders and take some deep breaths. This will set you up to rewire the brain to be present in the moment.
After taking the time to think through what your impatience creates for you personally and for the members of your team, think about what the situation looks like from the other person's point of view.
You may have expectations from people and projects to go faster than the pace they can actually go. They probably do not share the same expectations or priorities as you do. In the case of someone on your team for example, they are not purposefully taking more time than they need. It is all about staying curious and seeing it from another perspective.
Is it taking longer because they are currently learning to do something new? Is your impatience distracting them and making them self-conscious? Could your visible signs of frustration actually be making them go slower as they are trying to speed things up?
At times you may become impatient as a response to a stressful situation. Learning to become more patient is an important soft skill. It is also an important part of becoming a more conscious and authentic leader.
Try questioning your expectations with the lens of how they are contributing to the situations. Are your expectations clear to the people on your team? Or are you assuming they are? Are they realistic? How could you manage them differently to be more helpful to your team instead?
For example, now that you know that this team member takes longer because they are learning something, can you readjust the project calendar? Focus on what you can control and plan for it by scheduling more time when you can.
When you start to notice your impatience, you will learn to identify what contributes to your feelings of frustration. You can then develop strategies that help you to stop and not react to them.
Taking other people's perspective and focusing on how to help them will build your team's capacity. Learning to slow down your pace and become more patient is possible. It will require some practice and some work on your part.
To do all of this, you need to develop the soft skills to become to be a more aware and conscious leader. Are you ready to do this work and become a co-creative leader? Jump in!
How could your impatience currently be impacting your team? What could being aware and becoming more co-creative generate for your team?