Updated: Jan 17, 2022
When you are in a high-level leadership position, there is often conversation about drive, achievement, growth, and discussions around what's next, succession plans and career moves. And, honestly, those are important conversations because being able to deliver at a high-level does require skills that embrace many of those elements.
While those conversations and skills are important, there is an opportunity to talk about the other qualities that matter in leadership. And two of those qualities that we do not often hear as much conversation around are grace and patience. Sometimes referred to as "soft skills" (we just like to say leadership skills!), these two qualities can have a range of perception but we have seen firsthand how embracing them creates greater results and outcomes for us.
We define grace as showing ourselves kindness in the face of adversity or challenge, which is something that we often struggle to do. We are willing participants in accepting ownership and responsibility for problems and issues, but that action can often lead us to judgment and blame, which can keep us stuck in the issue longer. When we show up with grace, we acknowledge and identify the issue, assess the circumstances and how we can solve it and neutralize feelings like blame, failure, shame and defensiveness.
Patience on the other hand, is an interesting one for women leaders in particular. We can often be quite patient, some would say too patient, when we are trying to step into our own career growth or take on a new opportunity. We will think things like "it's not my time yet" and we are often willing to "bide our time". Yet, once we start a new role or are taking on a new project, we are often in a hurry to be great at it, failing to have patience to learn and grow into the role. As we achieve higher levels of responsibility and leadership, we actually need more patience, not less. When we allow for patience, we give ourselves the space to learn, to ask questions, to be open to coaching and feedback and often create greater impact and better outcomes.
So, as a leader, how do we both show ourselves grace and patience and create an environment for others to demonstrate those traits as well? It starts with trust and the willingness to create space for those qualities to be valued. It looks like us slowing down and asking better questions. It means that we have to be willing to be vulnerable and candid with our teams. And, we have to practice. We have to consider how we shift our mindsets from perfection and being right to progress and getting it right.
This week, we are practicing grace and patience with intention and here are a few of our favorite ways to do that:
start our day with a mindset mantra - pick on that works for you, one of our frequent ones is "I am figuring things out"
stop replying to emails from our phones - having patience to sit down and respond with focus and intention often yields better results, even if it takes a bit more time on the front end
extend grace to someone else - this could look like thanking someone for taking time on a project, acknowledging someone's work load or asking someone if they need help in solving an issue
end our day by asking ourselves "where did I make progress today?"; even if it is a simple thing, like I got my work out in or I planned my calendar, reminding ourselves that we are moving forward allows us to embrace patience with a little more ease
So, how will you show up for yourself with grace and patience this week?