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  3. How can you practice patience at work and why is this important?
How can you practice patience at work and why is this important?

How can you practice patience at work and why is this important?

  • What is patience?
  • 5 Tips to develop your patience at work
  • 1. Practice mindfulness
  • 2. Recognize your triggers
  • 3. Adopt a positive mindset
  • 4. Seek alternative perspectives
  • 5. Reflect on patience wins
  • Why is patience important in the workplace?
  • Improves critical-thinking skills
  • Achieving goals 
  • Promotes collaboration
  • Enhances leadership skills
  • Key takeaways

Patience can play a crucial role in your performance and success in the workplace. But, being patient at work isn’t easy, particularly in the fast-paced, 24/7 world we live in. Here’s how you can practice patience at work and why this is so important for your career.

The old adage “Patience is a virtue” has been around for a long time for good reason. Patience is a vital quality to have in both your personal and professional life as it can help you make better decisions, build positive relationships, and achieve your goals. In the context of the workplace, this can have a significant impact on job performance and career development.   

Being patient at work isn't easy, but being impatient can cause you more problems. Losing your cool and letting your emotions get the better of you can be detrimental to your reputation and ongoing career success. While working on patience can be a challenge, it’s well worth the effort. In this article we’ll explore:

  • What is patience? 

  • 5 tips to develop your patience at work

  • Why is patience important in the workplace?

What is patience?

Patience is something we all recognize, but it can often be confused with self-control. The US author Joyce Meyer describes patience in a nutshell, “Patience is not simply the ability to wait–it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” Self-control is the ability to control your impulses and disguise your anger or upset. Patience on the other hand is the ability to tolerate delay, troubles, or suffering without getting angry or upset. 

Being patient is a major plus in the workplace. Typically, if your co-workers and boss view you as a patient person that has the ability to be collaborative, focused, and productive, then you’re likely to be respected and regarded as the go-to person at work. On the other hand, impatient people who regularly lose their cool are usually viewed as arrogant, hot-headed, and to be avoided. This can become a major issue in terms of your career when a lack of patience could lead to a bad reputation and missing out on a potential promotion.

Expert Tip

Being patient doesn’t equate to being a pushover. Sometimes you’ll need to show your dissatisfaction if individuals you interact with in the workplace are causing unnecessary issues, or if you’re dealing with a condescending boss. The key is to stay calm, polite, and assertive in these situations, rather than getting angry, confrontational, or aggressive.

5 Tips to develop your patience at work

Being realistic, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to be able to maintain maximum levels of patience at all times. However, you can hone your patience skills and learn how to deal with situations in the workplace that really test your limits. Here’s some tips to developing the power of patience:

1. Practice mindfulness

Stress-reducing techniques can help you stay patient when faced with triggering situations. If you receive a tricky email from a disgruntled client or your boss makes an unrealistic demand, you may start to feel your impatience rising. 

Taking an outdoor break, breathing exercises, or visualizing something that calms you will allow you to restore your patience levels. Outside of the workplace, meditation, journaling, yoga, music, and reading can also help regulate your feelings and restore your equilibrium. 

2. Recognize your triggers

Impatience can manifest in several different ways. Physically this could include jaw or hand clenching, jiggling your legs, frowning, or rapid breathing. Your mood and thoughts can also be affected by impatience, including feelings of irritability, anxiety, impulsiveness, and anger. 

Being able to recognize these triggers and identify their root cause is one way to diffuse your impatience. Try creating a journal to record when you start to feel impatient and what caused you to feel frustrated, you can then develop a plan of how to address this situation in the future. Perhaps you get really irritated when a coworker interrupts you, so you can develop a go-to response for the next time this happens, such as “Jenny, I really value your input, but could you allow me to finish up my point, then we can have an open discussion? Thank you.” 

3. Adopt a positive mindset

Adopting a positive mindset will help boost your patience levels. It can often be easier to be negative about a situation, rather than look through the opposite lens and see the event as an opportunity to learn and grow. A “growth” mindset can help you quell any negativity, enhance your patience, and continually develop your skill set. 

Imagine your boss has asked you to work as part of a team project, and you’re waiting for some vital info from Tim in finance. Your negative inner voice might be saying, “What is Tim doing? He’s going to be the reason we miss the client deadline.” Maybe Tim is a new hire and needs a bit of support, or he could be taking a little longer to deliver more accurate cost proposals. Either way, being more positive and patient helps. Mentoring Tim will enhance your leadership skills and collaborating with him could impress the client with your creative cost solutions.

4. Seek alternative perspectives

Don’t avoid asking for help from a trusted resource if you feel your patience is about to expire and you’re unsure on the best approach to a situation. Mentors or another trusted person in your circle can often provide advice that will add value and give you a totally new perspective on the situation.    

5. Reflect on patience wins

Acknowledging your patience wins in the workplace is a good way to stay motivated to achieve your long-term patience goals. When you deal effectively with an issue at work that previously caused you to react with impatience, think about how you got through that situation to see if you can apply it elsewhere. 

Maybe you felt rising impatience as a weekly meeting dragged on into your lunch break, but in the same meeting at 10 a.m. the following week you felt energized and more patient. Scheduling earlier meetings and having a quick snack break beforehand could be a simple solution to achieving a patience win.

  • Set realistic job expectations and goals. Unrealistic expectations can just feed into your impatience levels.
  • Consider taking up a hobby. Cooking, yoga, writing, fishing, or learning a language are all great ways to build focus and patience.
  • Forget to be kind to yourself and others. Accept what you can and can’t control, then let the other things go.
  • Focus purely on your emotions and feelings if you start to feel impatient. Actively listen to other people to increase your understanding.

Why is patience important in the workplace?

Patience is an extremely important, yet often underrated, skill in the workplace. Having a little patience can help you feel more relaxed and focused when dealing with diverse personalities, different projects, unexpected challenges, and any stress you may face at work. Here’s some of the key benefits of patience in the workplace:

Improves critical-thinking skills

Being patient allows you time to think strategically and make informed decisions. The ability to take time to process information, consider alternative perspectives, and assess potential outcomes leads to a more thoughtful decision-making process. Improving your critical-thinking skills invariably leads to better performance at work and career success.

Achieving goals 

Patience provides you with the perseverance to achieve your career goals. After all, the road to career success can often be long and winding, with unexpected challenges along the way. Having patience ensures you don’t get too ahead of yourself and impatient in your career and also gives you the resilience to stay focused on the end goal.

Promotes collaboration

Nobody enjoys working within a team where there are fractious relationships. Patience is the antidote to this type of situation, helping you to determine goals, collaborate, and build stronger working relationships.

Enhances leadership skills

Accountable leaders understand that the team’s success is the leader’s success. As a manager, developing your team’s skills is a vital part of leadership and this will require patience when working with staff who have varying knowledge and skill levels. Patience is all about slowing down and being present as a manager, rather than becoming impatient and only focused on your agenda. 

If you’re looking to accelerate your career, check out Career.io’s Pathway to Promotion with expert insights, video introductions, and practical resources to help you unlock your career advancement.

Key takeaways

  1. Patience is a vital quality to have at work as it can help you make better decisions, build positive relationships, reduce stress, and enable you to achieve your career goals.

  2. Whatever your patience level it’s important to recognize when you’re becoming impatient so you can apply strategies to avoid any negative situations.

  3. Strategies such as mindfulness, enhancing your emotional intelligence, and patience building hobbies are great ways to boost your patience levels.

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