The Short Supply of Workplace Patience

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workplace patience

The Short Supply of Workplace Patience

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Most workplace teams are driven by time. As individuals, many people express a need for improving their time management skills. Do your employee teams illustrate workplace patience?

Often when the conversation of patience emerges there is a contradictory feeling connected with speed, pace, or customer expectations. It is true, time does tend to directly connect with money.

Should patience be a core value?

I often suggest to groups and teams that it should.

Patience is a learned skill. Patience should be practiced to be improved. A lack of patience costs.

Cost of Workplace Patience

There are at least two forms of cost connected with a lack of patience.

One cost is that of the work completed in a hurry or work completed through haste. The work becomes inferior. The idea often is, the more quantity across time, the better. Of course, the quality needs to be a recognized factor.

The other cost is more intangible. It is the cost of a lack of engagement, lower morale, bad attitudes, employee absenteeism, and turnover.

When employee teams see a team assignment slacking, they may jump in to pick up the pieces. In many cases, this is important and a sign of good teamwork.

The other side of this is that an employee who doesn’t fully participate often lacks buy-in. As a result of not being bought-in, they become more disengaged. They may take a back seat, the easy road, all the while knowing that whatever they don’t accomplish, someone else will do.

Time Factor

The mindset and performance of people is hard to measure with time.

Give ten different employees an individual assignment and not all ten will finish at the same time.

Easy enough to understand.

Yet if we monitor the performance of the fastest seven or eight and then pull the plug on the assignment, we know the unfinished two or three are somewhat disconnected.

Simple enough.

Is there an adequate supply of patience in your teams? How do you balance quality and quantity? Have you measured the impact of a shortage of patience?

Sometimes everybody needs a little patience. Just trying to get it right.


H/T (Patience, is a 1989 song released by the band Guns-n-Roses. It included the lyric, “Just trying to get it right.”)

Originally posted on August 14, 2019, last updated on August 31, 2020.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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