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Patience and “Zen-Like” Leadership – A Quick Hit Post!

In a world filled with crisis and the need to respond to events in real-time, is there room for a more “Zen-like” approach to leadership?  Is there time for a patient approach to decision-making?  People have extolled the virtue of patience to you for as long as you can remember.  Your parents attempted to teach you the value of a patient approach to nearly all things; your teachers in high school and college would likely often explain that it took time for some to grasp the depth of the material for very difficult subjects.  “Keep working at it, be patient.”  Mentors and others, who you trust, have likely said, “let things play out just a bit.”  Yes, patience is a virtue, but what are the real benefits of developing the characteristic of patience when making leadership decisions?

  1. A calm approach often allows the best possible solution to rise to the top of the discussion.

A calm approach is contagious.  When others around you see you taking a calm and deliberative approach to decision-making it makes them more inclined to follow suit, thereby creating an environment where the best possible option can rise to the surface of any discussion.  In a calm and open environment, good ideas are allowed to flourish and take shape.

  1. Significant changes rarely show their benefit immediately, especially where organizational culture is concerned.

Inevitably some of your job, as a leader, will be about making changes and seeing those changes bear fruit.  Never forget you are dealing with human beings in the realm of leadership and making changes is not a simple transaction where change is made and you immediately see the outcome.  You don’t often see the immediate shift in the horizon.  In fact, changes in organizational culture can take many years to show the value of its implementation, making leaders question their decision-making or the chosen path.

  1. Confidence in your decision-making rises when there has been suitable contemplation.

Not every decision requires an immediate answer. As leaders, the idea of developing a decisive posture is drilled into you from the very beginning, especially for those of us who come from military backgrounds. But not every decision has life or death consequences, nor does every call (decision) require an immediate response. Sometimes your decisions crave contemplation and evaluation, just to increase the chances that you get it right.  Difficult decisions often times involve multiple variables that requires the leader to evaluate numerous possible outcomes.  If you have the luxury, especially with large course changes, take some time to evaluate.

  1. Speed is not always your friend.  In fact, it sometimes increases the probability of you making the wrong decisions.

We have all watched expert chess players start and finish a game within minutes.  Its fun to see these people work like computers with precision,  making calculated moves within a matter of seconds against an opponent.  Guess what? This is probably not you (seriously), or me.  For most of us average chess players, each move may take several minutes to determine the proper course and probable outcomes.  Take the same approach when making some of your more important calls.  When there is no clock, take advantage of the time variable.  There will be enough decisions which will require you to act as though you are on the clock.

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