Office of Culture and Experience

The Power of Patience

July 26, 2017 • Leadership

I recently had a lightbulb moment in a coaching session that stopped me in my tracks. It was the kind of moment that flipped my world view upside down. This breakthrough came from a coaching conversation about transformational leadership and four words completely shifted my perspective, “Mission first. People always.” This wasn’t the first time we had talked about transformational leadership. In fact, the first-time transformational leadership was introduced was about two months before. I just didn’t “get it” until now. For me, transformational leadership challenged everything I knew about leadership. I had been taught “People first. People always. People above everything else.” This is what I knew, and this is what I practiced. As burnout was becoming more and more real for me, I found that this model wasn’t sustainable anymore.

If I’m going to lay it all on the table, transformational leadership went right past me the first time it was brought up. I tried to make sense of what transformational leadership could look like for me, but I struggled reconciling this with what I was hearing, what I knew, and how I had been taught to lead. Looking back, it makes sense that a challenge to my paradigm didn’t stick the first time. With patience and grace (from myself and others), I began to redesign what leadership could look like for me and I learned some powerful lessons along the way.

Get rid of the timeline.

Leadership is giving people space to have their own ah-ha moments. There’s no set schedule to how someone develops as a leader. In fact, true and authentic development is created when there’s give on our end to allow this to be intrinsically driven. When we provide the space and patience for this to occur organically (with some encouragement and coaching along the way), a foundation of sustainability is created.

Sometimes we have to fail…and that’s okay.

Failure is often what happens when we create something new. When we brainstorm a new idea, when a prototype is tested, when a paradigm is challenged- failure is going to be a part of the process. In order for us to thrive as leaders, we have to have people around us who give us the freedom to fail. In turn, the permission that we give ourselves to fail freely invites others to live boldly right alongside us.

Speak truth.

When I began to understand how to align strategy with organizational mission and vision, I was able to speak truth into others from a renewed sense of perspective. This process was vulnerable for me in regard to my own development, but if we want our leaders to be genuine and authentic, we have to give them time and space to experience this process. As a leader, I want nothing more for than people around me to have the freedom to live their truth. That’s the place where powerful and meaningful work is created.

Patience has often been something I’ve struggled with. I like to get things right and preferably on the first try. Leadership development isn’t about “getting it right” on the first try. What I’ve come to learn instead is that leadership development is an evolving process full of patience, grace, and learning to be okay with pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone.

Emily Mire

Director, Student Services

2017 Fellows Candidate