PATIENCE: A Forgotten Leadership Quality – Imoh Simeon

I first discovered the importance of patience in life as a kid, when all I wanted was for our tomatoes to grow. Tasty, ripe tomatoes come to those who wait for them to grow.

Eating ones that aren’t quite ripe just isn’t the same. I learned early that being patient pays off.

But trying to become a more patient person requires hard work. In fact, it can be very frustrating to cultivate patience.

Have you ever found yourself getting agitated in the queue in the supermarket? or felt your blood boiling while sitting in traffic?

With our world quickly becoming a place where we can get everything instantly, without thought or justification, could we be losing our ability to be patient?

Gone are the days where we would sit waiting for a letter to arrive, take a trip to the library to choose new books or wait a week for the next episode of our favorite TV series. We are quickly turning into a society where we want, or even demand, things to be available to us instantly.

Over the past few years we have also seen this shift in attitude in the workplace. It seems to be that society expects those in charge to take action quickly and decisively.

Patience is too often thought of as a weakness when it comes to leadership skills. 

Effective leaders are often expected to make split-second decisions and move on to the next solution if the current one isn’t working. If they take a moment to consider options or think strategically about what to do, they are often viewed as slow or even incompetent.

We categorize what we believe to be qualities of an ‘inspirational leader’ as; honest, fair, motivational, trustworthy, passionate and an excellent communicator slating out patience which is one essential skill

A good study to Michelle Obama’s 10 most admirable leadership qualities is an eyes opener that patience is paramount to every leader

So, what about patience as a leadership skill?

Surely in a crisis, we need our leaders to act with patience. If our leaders can’t retain composure in the face of frustration or adversity, they certainly won’t be able to keep others calm.

Patience is essential when defining what true leadership skills are all about. If our direct reports show signs of strain or uncertainty, we need to be able to support them, not get irritated.

Patience is often regarded as a Virtue, and in the realm of leadership, it emerges as a formidable skill that can shape the trajectory of success for both leaders and their team

It is having the ability to stay calm in the face of disappointment, adversity or distress.

It’s not to be confused with inactivity – far from it. Patience is a cornerstone of true leadership.

This article delves into the why of possessing patience as a leader

Why is Having Patience in Leadership Important?

While many of us focus on different approaches and skill sets, we tend to forget the main driver behind the leader’s success. Is it true that patience is a virtue?.

The following reasons are not listed in any particular order, but they do complete an entire picture if practiced together.

Gain and Show Respect with Patience

Nobody wants to work with someone they don’t know. After you do get to know the person or a team, it takes time and effort to give and gain respect from fellow team members and co-workers.

Since gaining and giving respect can’t be achieved overnight, leaders should employ patience. Being able to patiently approach people and in return gain their respect will be mutually beneficial to both leader and team member.

The more you know yourself, the more patience you have for what you see in others. – Erik Erikson

Respect combined with patience is a long-term commitment and it has to be worked on continuously. One has to understand that once you do get respect, you need to nurture it and encourage others to do the same.

Improve Productivity with Patience

Each team member can produce results at a certain pace. Likewise, the entire teams can be productive as much as the individuals within that team.

Rushing your team members can hamper productivity as it sometimes puts unnecessary pressure on them. Although leaders should encourage their team to perform and be more productive, approaching each member with patience can be more efficient.

Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy. – Saadi Shirazi

Improving productivity with patience will be beneficial both short and long-term. It will also provide more confidence to your teams, as they will know that their leader is patiently stimulating productivity of each team member. You can achieve better results with purposeful guidance and patience.

Provide more freedom with Patience

While developing teams and individuals, you should consider providing room for improvement. If you lack patience to provide freedom for your teams and encourage progress, they might consider looking for opportunities elsewhere.

Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself. – St. Francis de Sales

Since different people adapt at different speeds, giving them the freedom to process all the information, they will be more susceptible to change. This does not mean that you will completely leave your team on their own. It just means that you will leave “breathing” space for them, which will result in more trust, and therefore, better team.

Develop Positive Attitude with Patience

Being a leader means that you will be tested in a difficult situation, and your ability to be patient will be essential. During those times, as a leader, you will need to take action and develop a positive attitude.

A positive attitude is something everyone can work on, and everyone can learn how to employ it. – Joan Lunden

That positive attitude will not only help yourself, but it will be transferred onto team and organization. Teams and individuals will sometimes depend on the leader to display positivity. At those moments, having patience will motivate your team and its members to be positive.

Improve Time Management with Patience

As a leader, you will need to be proficient in time management. You may be tempted to push things and people beyond their capabilities to meet deadlines. That can result in a dissatisfied team members and ultimately a dysfunctional company.

You can improve time management skills of yourself and your team by applying patience when appropriate. Sometimes you need to slow down and maximize the time allotted, as it will produce more efficient results.

If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first four hours sharpening the axe. – Abraham Lincoln

That will lead to team satisfaction and will encourage individuals to improve their own time management skills.

Teams Grow with Patience

Building teams and individuals require appropriate time and effort. Leaders that don’t recognize this may have difficulty growing their teams.

With patience in leadership, the right amount of effort and by taking proper steps, you can strengthen your team. This requires you as a leader to remain committed and be persistent. The key to this goes back to being patient.

Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince Lombardi

Grow your team and encourage them to practice patience themselves. They will refine them as team members and it will grow the entire company.

Allow Recovery Time with Patience

Your team might be comprised of high performers and achieving amazing results, time over time. Just consider and remember that your team members are still human and that they have certain needs.

Over-fatigue can be detrimental to individuals, teams, and companies. As a leader, you need to recognize when the time is right to provide some u

There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither. – Alan Cohen

Even the top-performing athletes take time off to recuperate and heal, which will help them in the long run. Thus, your team members should be treated like top performing athletes. Have patience for your team members and allow them decent recovery time.

Adapt to Change with Patience

Successful companies grow and change over time. Individuals and team members change and adapt at different speeds. Some of the teams may adapt quite easily, while others may take additional time to comprehend these changes.

Leaders must recognize the importance of adapting to change by applying patience in appropriate ways. Sometimes, individuals may be caught off-guard if the change was sudden and unplanned. Have patience for those who need more time to adapt and your team will develop more effectively.

Adapt yourself to the things among which your lot has been cast and love sincerely the fellow creatures with whom destiny has ordained that you shall live. – Marcus Aurelius

In the end, be ready to adapt to change yourself and grow as a leader, together with your team. It’s all achievable with enough patience.

Build Reputation with Patience

Reputation is by definition an opinion or belief about someone or something. In leadership, reputation has to be built over time. It’s probably falling under one of the more difficult things to build upon.

You can be become a well-developed leader and differentiate yourself from the others through patience. Sometimes, reputation can be a fine line that some cross in the wrong direction. Be careful to build and maintain a positive reputation.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. – Warren Buffett

Your team will be more confident in your abilities if you are displaying the right attitude, which will ultimately result in reputation build-up.

Achieve Greater Results with Patience

How many companies do you know achieved success overnight? As Eddie Cantor said: “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” Results are built over the course of time and are a continuous process.

Your team can understand this concept better if you, as a leader guide them appropriately. Some companies and their leaders believe that they can achieve greater results by developing company culture. For that alone, you need to dedicate yourself and your team members to exercise patience.

Progress, of the best kind, is comparatively slow. Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step. – Samuel Smiles

Once you instill the importance of patience to yourself and your team members, your leadership skills will guide your team to greater results.

Make Better Decisions with Patience

Leaders need to make decisions. It is in their job description. Decision making can be one of the most difficult tasks leaders can encounter.

Lack of patience in making any decision can influence your team and company in a negative way. That doesn’t mean it is impossible to make the right decisions. Leaders shouldn’t be making decisions during their inconvenient times.

There is no decision that we can make that doesn’t come with some sort of balance or sacrifice. – Simon Sinek

If something is troubling you, take extra time before making that final call. Over time, you will learn to utilize patience and make better decisions. That will produce further growth for your team members.

Improve Listening Skills with Patience

Successful leaders have amazing listening skills. That is one of the main reasons why they are successful. If you recognize this and put it on your priority list, there’s a definite chance that you will grow as a leader.

Be careful to differentiate hearing and listening. It’s important to have the patience to listen to others as you will be able to fully understand what that person wants to say. Since communication is a 2-way street, it requires you to listen, understand and then respond to successfully communicate ideas with others.

Listening is being able to be changed by the other person. – Alan Alda

Leaders can further develop if they improve listening skills with patience. Learn to be the active listener.


While it may be tempting sometimes to make decisions faster, thinking it will be more effective, hold yourself back for a moment. Acknowledge that you are aware of the decision-making process and time it takes to make any decision.

If you are looking to become the best you can be when it comes to leadership, recognize the importance of patience. Make purposeful decisions, take time and be a great leader.

Leaders who master the art of patience emerge as resilient architects of success.

The beautiful thing is that when patience is practiced, you’ll reap plenty of benefits.

On the flip side, impatience can act as a stumbling block, hindering effective decision-making and eroding team morale. Aspiring leaders would do well to recognize patience not as a passive trait, but as an active force shaping the path to enduring success.

Imoh Simeon
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply


Jamie Pajoel University maintains this websites to provide the public with education in different fields. However, this University does not operate as the regular conventional University that provides degrees at the end of a course. The University therefore, will not be responsible for any miscommunication or misunderstanding regarding incurred in line with Jamie Pajoel University. It is strictly a non conventional University.

Jamie Pajoel University
Register New Account
Shopping cart