Building Patience, Building Teams

May 09, 2024

This week’s thoughts are on something we all deal with from time to time… impatience. For me personally, my impatience tends to rear its ugly head the most when one of two things happen. First, when we are working on big projects. When I wrap up my part of a task, waiting on the next pieces can be a real test of my patience. The other is when someone isn’t going at it as hard as I believe I am or didn’t prepare as well as I did.

My guess is that it’s not just me, but that many of us find it's easy to fall into the trap of comparing our work ethic or pace to others, especially in high-stakes or large-scale projects where separate roles are interdependent. This is where impatience can creep in, sometimes subtly at first, sometimes all at once. It often feels like our progress is being bottlenecked by others who, on the surface, might not seem to share our sense of urgency.

Something I’ve been focusing on lately is reminding myself that everyone’s work is different, with unique challenges and processes that I might not see or understand. What seems like a delay might actually be someone grappling with a truly complex problem that requires careful thought, or they could be dependent on other factors or hurdles that aren’t in their control.

I’ve read countless books about the value of asking great questions. What I sometimes fail to do, is ask great questions with a great attitude. Real value emerges when I choose to approach these situations with curiosity rather than frustration. Engaging in open, patient communication sheds light on what others are, in fact, dealing with. I’ve been finding recently that asking questions and offering support not only eases my own impatience but also contributes to strengthening my team dynamics. It reminds me that we’re all in this together, each of us pushing toward a common goal, albeit from different angles.

Being a patient teammate also fosters a more compassionate and understanding work environment. This makes a significant difference, not just in how efficiently a project moves forward, but also in how enjoyable coming to work every day can be. We work hard at culture, and I’m realizing that patience is a core building block that allows greatness to build or makes it easy to crumble. A key building block is creating a culture where everyone feels valued and understood, where patience isn’t just expected, but reciprocated.

That leads me to this week’s challenge… focus on being mindful of your impatience. Try to understand the bigger picture and appreciate the efforts of everyone around us. Not just at work, but at home with family and friends. To quote the great philosopher Ice Cube, “You better check yo self before you wreck yo self.” Be a great teammate and friend by showing grace and being curious.

I’m thankful that you went to work today, that you took time to read this, and that you’re a part of what makes this world amazing.