The Paradox of Impatiently Patient

In his recent blog post, Gary Burnison shares his insights on dealing effectively “in this frustrating time of perpetual uncertainty.” He suggests that “the answers are often found in the paradoxes and opposites. It’s time for impatient patience.” Or, in the words of Emperor Augustus, ‘Festina lente’ – make haste slowly.” He cites the findings of his Korn Ferry team of more than 70 million assessments of executives.

“Here’s what we know when it comes to this elusive quality known as patience. First of all, the best leaders are often impatient—they can’t afford to be complacent. And most of them also have a need to achieve, which makes taking on challenges a particularly strong motivator. But patience also shows up in more subtle, nuanced ways—like having empathy for people and exhibiting composure during times of high stress and crises. It’s a tall order, but that’s the yin and yang of leadership.”

The paradox is a living one for great leaders, the simple impatience to meet and achieve the many challenges and opportunities they explore, yet, also, to have the patience to step back, prioritize and assess the impacts they represent.  Success is found in a balance of being impatiently patient. Burnison adds further depth to this looking at a broader context… the world and time in which we live. Everyone needs to know and understand this balance of impatient urgency and the patience to deal with it.

On your journey, may you be impatiently patient, and bring this learning to those you serve. Remember the words of a Chinese proverb, “One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.” As Edmund Burke wrote, “Our patience will achieve more than our force.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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