I am most definitely a work-in-progress, and by that I mean I am constantly (over) analyzing myself in an effort to fix what’s wrong. Typically, I learn by reading articles and books, and also by finding someone that I believe exhibits the qualities I should have and emulating them in those areas.
In this hunt for self-improvement, the thing that has had the biggest effect on how I live and work is the effort I put into being more patient, and I am around quite a few people who offer stellar examples of that quality. Through patience, I have also made inroads in being a better listener and appreciating other people’s situations and how they arrive at their opinions than I was previously.
To get there, I have a constant mantra running through my head to “be less Tony,” meaning to fight my urges to get where I need to be at the expense of all others. That can simply be letting people on a train or elevator before me, or letting people fully get their ideas out in meetings without my interruption.
Patience is also tied directly to losing one’s temper, and this is another area where taking a moment to really think before speaking or, especially, emailing has had a huge difference. This came to my attention recently when I fell off the wagon and fired off an email in response to a plan with which I disagreed without seeing other’s perspectives or giving me time to process what they wanted and how I could find a way to make it work. This led to a later mea culpa email, which is never fun.
This is not to say that it always leads to compromise, but I know whatever decisions are made have been thoroughly considered and all views taken into account.
Of course, this works best with a team that has the overall goals of the organization in its best interests. But we’ve all run into people who will put their own agenda ahead of what’s good for the team. And once you have patiently determined that their perspective does not match the team’s, you can handle that person accordingly.
Patience certainly does not mean weakness or indecisiveness.
As I mentioned, this is an ongoing process where I learn, make adjustments, and repeat. In this case, I am pleased with how the results are going, and will try and continue as best I can.
Of course, there are limits to patience, and I know I get a ton of dirty looks as I scramble along NYC streets trying to make my evening train.
I’m working on it!