Ever caught yourself in a moment when you realise you might have reacted and responded a little too quickly? You were a bit too fast and abrupt with your response, you didn’t think through the implications and were too focused on giving an answer (regardless of whether it was actually the right one).

We’ve all been there, with colleagues, clients, family, friends and yes, even ourselves.  Just the other day I was there myself after getting frustrated that a colleague was too quick to respond to a client without the facts.  I responded to them and then realised that I had quickly lost my patience given that I expected them to have behaved differently.  I wasn’t expecting them to have the answer when responding to the client, but take an approach of asking for assistance or clarification from the team.

I realised though that perhaps my expectations of my colleague were too high particularly given the level of experience that they have.  Perhaps I need to revise my expectations but also communicate what is important to our business, myself and our clients when responding to questions or areas of clarification.  The other thing about expectations is that you set the bar on how high they are.  That is, depending on the person you are working with, you set them as high or as low as you like.  This “bar” determines the subsequent level of frustration when they are not met.

It has taught me that you cannot over communicate expectations particularly when people start working with you given that the strongest personal and professional relationships take years to develop.  Further, it has also taught me that this is about me having the patience to let them go on their journey and to make mistakes and learn. To give myself a little patience in thinking I need to fix everything and not letting my frustrations bubble over to boiling point when someone responds in a way that I wouldn’t.

Patience works both ways, but it’s amazing what a little patience can do and the benefits it can have. Patience empowers others to act and gives others the freedom to learn and grow. And with that sense of growth from others comes that freedom within yourself to let it go and enjoy their journey and let you focus on your journey.  It might take a little bit longer to get there, but it will be worth it in the end.