Saturday, January 1, 2011

Patience- one critical ingredient in the resilient workplace

There is a quote by Bob Levey that speaks volumes. He says “Patience is the ability to let your light shine after your fuse has blown.” In my courageous dialogue seminars, I facilitate an exercise that identifies the difference between a response and a reaction. Often in dialogue when we “blow a fuse”, or act in a very reactionary way, we make matters worse.
Here are a few strategies to shining even when you have blown a fuse:
- Take responsibility for your actions. This may mean an apology, a sincere explanation or a request to talk about what just happened. The best apology is sincere, honest and free of blame or justification.
- Request a short time out, take a break and get away from the situation.
- Use the situation as an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Be present. When you are present you are more aware of your body’s emotional changes and physiological warning signs that your stress level is increasing and your patience is on a downward slide. When you are present you can correct your approach before the situation worsens instead of after the damage is done.

Demonstrating patience is one key to a resilient workplace, and it is my opinion that is it not so much a skill, rather, it is a decision. It sets the tone in the workplace. In an environment where everyone is impatient, rushing, and snapping, it invites more of the same. Patience can be modeled in many different ways, including:
• Make the decision to be patient, to show patience to others and yourself.
• Use the three second rule- that is counting slowly to three in your head before responding, reacting or saying anything.
• Become more realistic in your thinking and expectations of yourself (and others).
• Look at setbacks as temporary, or perhaps an opportunity. Often a setback in one area allows time an focus for another project or task.
• Have an attitude of problem solver instead of victim. When the attitude is that one is victim to life’s circumstances, it removes responsibility to change, fix or manage the situation. Complaining can be infectious, just like effective problem solving and brainstorm solutions, but the second one will yield results.
Patience takes practice, every day seek out an opportunity to make a decision to be more patient---and watch what happens.

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