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Your Impatience Is Killing More Than Your Brand

Recently, I volunteered at a community event, manning the registration table. It was a busy period, and a fast-moving line of attendees was waiting their turn to check in and receive their name badges and event instructions. Our process was simple: each person would approach the table, provide their name, and we would find their badge and give them instructions about the event schedule and locations.


However, I noticed some people lacked the patience to stand, even for a couple of minutes, and would bypass the person being served and start rooting through the name badges laid out on the table. Even with no idea how the badges we organized, or even any indication they might be organized at all, they were eager to find their badges quickly, even at the expense of someone else’s badge being easily accessible when it was their legitimate turn.


The volunteers, including myself, had to interrupt serving the person who had waited, in order to stop the impatient person from creating chaos. This interruption slowed down the process for the person we were helping and the others patiently waiting in line.


Some of the impatient ones were the very people who had organized the event. Yes, they knew how the badges were organized and what the instructions were. When we asked that they not set a bad example, their position was that they knew where their badge was and were “just helping.”


What do you think? Do you think they were helping?


Our organized system only worked as well as attendees cooperated with it as a whole, and those who cut the line not only caused problems for others, they missed out on the critical instructions we needed to give them.


Impatience obviously creates far more problems than it solves, and not just for others, but for us when we are the impatient ones. Intellectually we understand this. But all the same, often we are the impatient one, pushing and shoving our way to what appears to be a shortcut, but leaves us missing valuable insights and experience that slows us down for the long run.


So, if we know better, why don’t we do better? One of the reasons is that our impatience often is unconscious in nature. We think we are “just helping” or “just moving things along” or “being decisive”. So, here are the actions of impatience that we, especially as leaders and entrepreneurs can exhibit which disrupt our teams organized flow, and undermine our own personal brand as a result:


Actions Driven by Unconscious Impatience

  1. Interrupting Others: Impatient individuals often interrupt colleagues during meetings or conversations. They may feel the need to quickly share their ideas or move discussions forward, disregarding others' contributions. For example, at the event registration table, impatient attendees interrupted the orderly process, creating confusion.

  2. Making Snap Decisions: They might make quick decisions without sufficient analysis or input from others. This can lead to poorly thought-out strategies and oversight of critical details. The man who grabbed his badge without waiting exemplified this, as he missed essential instructions.

  3. Micromanaging: Impatience can cause leaders to micromanage their team, constantly checking in and trying to control every aspect of a project. This stems from a desire for quick progress and visible results. In the event scenario, the chaos from people grabbing badges could prompt volunteers to micromanage, adding stress.

  4. Expressing Frustration: Impatient people may frequently show visible signs of frustration, such as sighing, rolling their eyes, or using a harsh tone. This can create a tense and uncomfortable atmosphere, as seen when attendees who missed instructions expressed their annoyance.

  5. Overloading Communication: They may send multiple follow-up emails or messages in a short period, seeking immediate responses and updates. This can overwhelm and pressure their colleagues. At the event, this could translate to attendees bombarding volunteers with questions because they missed the initial instructions.

  6. Skipping Processes: To speed things up, they might bypass standard procedures and protocols, risking errors and non-compliance with company policies. The impatient attendees bypassed the registration process, leading to disorder and incomplete information.

  7. Rushing Meetings: They may cut meetings short or push for quick conclusions, leading to incomplete discussions and missed opportunities for deeper insights. This is similar to how rushing through registration led to missed instructions.

  8. Changing Priorities Frequently: Impatient leaders might frequently shift priorities and goals, creating confusion and instability within their teams. In the event context, this could mean volunteers constantly changing how they handle registration due to the chaotic environment.


The Effect of Impatience on Your Personal Brand


When it comes to your personal brand, impatience has a very damaging impact, and often in ways we are only barely aware of. If only they could see what’s on your mind, they would understand. Except they can’t. So consider these top results of impatience and the effect they have on your brand:

  1. Perceived as Overbearing: You know you have too much content to cover in the time allotted. But that’s not what they see. Constant interruptions and micromanagement can lead others to view the person as overbearing and difficult to work with. This damages relationships and reduces collaboration, similar to how attendees viewed the impatient individuals as disruptive.

  2. Reputation for Poor Decision-Making: You know you have limited financial resources and need to get moving to build cash flow. But your anxiety can cause more problems than it solves. Making snap decisions without thorough consideration can harm the individual’s reputation for strategic thinking and reliability. The man who grabbed his badge quickly without waiting became an example of poor decision-making.

  3. Decreased Trust: You know it is less about them than that massive project you are afraid of dropping the ball on. You don’t have the bandwidth. But all they hear is your tone. Frequent expressions of frustration and a harsh tone can erode trust. Team members may feel undervalued and hesitant to share their ideas or concerns. In the event scenario, volunteers might feel less motivated due to the stressful environment created by impatience.

  4. Seen as Inconsistent: Business moves very fast, and it can be hard to focus. But if you shift what matters most to you, it is crucial that you share it with everyone who needs to know. Frequently changing priorities can make the leader appear inconsistent and unreliable, undermining their credibility and the stability of their leadership. This inconsistency was mirrored in the disordered registration process.

  5. Negative Work Environment: You don’t want to broadcast whatever pressure you are under and infect your team. Except when anyone on a team is stressed (especially the leader) it absolutely infects the rest of the team. Better to find a solution for your anxiety immediately. Impatience can contribute to a high-stress, high-pressure work environment. This can lead to lower morale, reduced productivity, and higher employee turnover. The chaotic registration table exemplified a stressful environment.

  6. Reduced Influence: Impatience makes us push, and push hard. Overloading communication and pushing for quick results can make others less likely to engage with or support the leader, diminishing their influence within the organization. Attendees who missed instructions due to impatience were less likely to seek help from volunteers later.

  7. Lack of Long-Term Vision: Skipping processes and rushing meetings may give the impression that the leader is more concerned with short-term results than with sustainable, long-term success. The impatient actions at the event showed a lack of foresight for maintaining order and providing complete information.


Mitigating the Negative Effects of Impatience

To mitigate these negative effects of impatience, it is necessary to slow down actively and intentionally. Knowing how impatience manifests can at least help bring it into your conscious awareness. From there you can determine which tool will help calm you (and anyone in your circle of influence) so you can have the right kind of impact – a positive one:

  • Practice Active Listening: Focus on listening to others without interrupting, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued.

  • Delegate and Trust: Empower team members by delegating tasks and trusting them to manage their responsibilities.

  • Develop Emotional Intelligence: Enhance self-awareness and self-regulation to manage frustration and communicate more effectively.

  • Set Realistic Expectations: Clearly communicate timelines and goals that are achievable and allow for thorough analysis and input.

  • Prioritize Processes: Adhere to established procedures and protocols to ensure quality and compliance.

Impatience is everywhere and it is highly contagious. It makes otherwise calm people do things that aren’t their natural behaviors. Once we realize how we are sucked into impatience, and how we can break the cycle of impatience, we begin creating a stronger personal brand and a more effective business and work environment.

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