Curb your impatience with your team

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

Is your team's pace too slow? Do you frequently urge team members to work faster and harder to meet project deadlines?

Your good intentions to spur people into action can often achieve the opposite effect. Team members may buckle under the pressure, rushing through their work and making mistakes. This only makes a bad situation worse.

Team members develop at different rates of speed. Those who are slow to master the necessary skills won't progress far if you're impatient with their efforts. The team will also suffer if you're too quick to give up on employees. 

Identify triggers and take action

What triggers your impatience? Art Petty, a management consultant and the author of Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development, offers these tips to identify individual triggers:

  • Think back on the last time you were impatient. Ask yourself what caused this reaction and use the "five whys" technique to get to the root cause. (Answering the first "why" will prompt another "why." The answer to the second "why" will prompt another "why," and so on.) 
  • Ask friends, family and co-workers for their observations. They likely have a good idea what sets you off.
  • Physical factors can trigger impatience. A quick snack or a drink of water might make you feel better.

After the self-analysis, take these steps when impatience strikes:

  • Breathe slowly and count to 10. Focus on relaxing your muscles, from your toes to your head.
  • Speak and move more slowly. "By acting patient, you often feel more patient," says Petty.
  • Engage in active listening. Practice giving others your complete attention. 
  • Remember that impatience rarely achieves anything. It creates more stress for you and your team.

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