Do you lead well when you are impatient? We all have things that we find irritating. You might be irritated when people are habitually late. You might get annoyed when you have to repeat an instruction more than once. You might get flustered when people miss deadlines. Wait I just shared with you some of mine! We all have things that we don’t like, which is understandable. However, what isn’t acceptable is the way we decide to manage people based on our preferences.

During LaTara Bussey’s discussion on “keeping it real” on Facebook Live I decided to look deeper at how I lead others. She asked us to identify places in our life where we needed to mature. She mentioned that until we could bravely confront places where we need to grow, we would remain stuck. Being honest about my weaknesses used to be a struggle for me because I didn’t want to admit I had any flaws or issues with others. I have learned to remove my mask and be open to ways I need to grow.

The following day, I decided to pray about some areas that had affected my heart. Relief! I jotted down a few next steps that I needed to do, and I was joyous that the barriers of vexation dissipated. This day is going to be amazing. No more blockages! Or so I thought. Within an hour I was back in the same place. I found myself getting more irritated by the moment. I have learned that this isn’t time to ignore my symptoms of frustration, but to return to prayer. I was semi-eager for my prayer time thinking that God was going to share something to bring instant relief to my pain. I heard one word: impatience.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines impatient as not patient, restless or short temper, especially under irritation, delay or opposition. Impatience is also defined as intolerant. Intolerant means to be unable or unwilling to endure. After defining impatience, the following question came up: How is impatience affecting my work and relationships? We don’t have time for my full list, but I’ll share two observations. When I’m impatient, I get temperamental and resentful. I throw an adult temper tantrum and don’t want to do anything else. When I’ve had those moments, I act like a professional two-year-old. The second observation is disturbing especially for a leader. I refuse to provide any support to those I lead, even if it’s my duty. Leaders are called to lead for a reason. We are responsible for providing direction, support, and engagement within our teams. If we shut down because we are irritated what negative implications can this have for our team members and efforts?

Impatience isn’t just a character issue, but it also has spiritual implications. According to Stephanie Herzenberg’s article Subtle Signs You Need to Start Breaking Strongholds “Impatience is a twisted combination of anger and pride.” We feel that where we are going or what we are doing is more important than what anyone else is doing. We are then angry when we are delayed by what we see as less important issues.” When we are impatient as leaders, we are saying our thoughts are above those we serve. We are saying that our requirements supersede the needs our team members may have.

When we are impatient with our team members, we see them as inconveniences instead of people who have real thoughts, needs and feelings. Believe it or not, our attitude is communicated through our briskness, and people are left feeling wounded in our path. Not sure if your impatience has an impact? It does. The good news is that when we surrender these areas to God, He creates a remediation plan. Our impatience as leaders can cause structural damage to our families, our work relationships, and our ministry endeavors. Impatience can’t be ignored. I am thankful that God showed me this area of weakness and I’m going to be working on it diligently. There is no condemnation! By knowing where I need to grow, I can be an impactful leader who brings greater honor to God. So can you.

Challenge Question:

Has impatience affected your ability to lead? Spend time in prayer and study to unveil areas that you may need to mature in to serve well.

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LaTara Bussey

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