Patience or Accountability
Too patient and you become soft, a pushover.
Too strict and you become cold, a drill sergeant.
Neither is a good recipe for an effective, transformational leader.
I’ve found the best leaders to balance patience and accountability masterfully. They seem to have an innate ability to know just when to push a little more and when to allow space - when to demand and when to forgive.
When we allow excessive time to reach the standard, we are also saying the standard isn’t that important. Passivity, relaxed, cool doesn’t produce excellence.
Likewise, a tyrannical drive to the standard dismisses the process we all must pass through in order to reach new heights. Suppressing creativity, working through mistakes, and remaining focused only on yourself doesn’t produce excellence either.
There must be an appreciation for the dichotomy between the two.
Why Should We Care?
Whether we aspire to excellence as an individual, or for our team, we soon realize both patience and accountability are required. The question becomes, how do we know what we need when?
The first concept to understand is that excellence requires friction. And, friction requires time to work through. We all know nothing significant is accomplished without overcoming many obstacles. Hard work, persistence, and a positive attitude are all necessary. Patience is too.
The second concept to understand pertaining to excellence is that you get what you accept. You don’t get what you want. You don’t get what you ask for. You get what you accept from yourself or those you lead. The standard of accountability you establish within your team will determine your team’s performance level as much as anything else.
Notice both of these concepts are centered on the process, not the result. Trusting the process means being patient and realizing excellence will not come immediately. And, our accountability applies to how we go about our work also. By taking care of the process, we give ourselves the best possible chance to achieve the desired result.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Executing this balance between patience and accountability is much more of an art than a science. It requires emotional intelligence along with a high level of self-awareness. Here are a few ideas to help you walk that line.
Patience and accountability should not be looked at as opposite ends of the spectrum. They are both tools in your bag as a leader. The best, most impactful, leaders know which tool to pick ... and, equally as important, when to use it.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.