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Scheller Faculty Ideas Featuring David Sluss: Becoming a More Patient Leader

David Sluss, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business recently published an article in the Harvard Business Review titled “Becoming a More Patient Leader.”

“Leading effectively — especially during a crisis — takes patience,” Sluss writes. “If you can’t retain your composure in the face of frustration or adversity, you won’t be able to keep others calm. When your direct reports show signs of strain, you need to support them, not get irritated. Solutions to new challenges usually take time to put into practice. However, in my work teaching and coaching high-potential leaders, I have seen that many just don’t have patience and don’t know how to find it. They want quick fixes and can’t wait for strategies to take hold. This tendency is only reinforced by our agile digital work world, which seems to prize hyperspeed.”

Sluss surveyed 578 full-time working professionals in the U.S. to gauge the effects of a leader’s patience on her direct reports. His work revealed that patience had a positive effect, boosting creativity and collaboration by an average of 16% and productivity by 13%. He also found that the leader’s style – whether it be focusing on tasks or relationships – amplifies the direct report’s creativity, collaboration, and productivity when coupled with patience. Sluss concludes, “The bottom line is, effective leadership behaviors are enhanced by a show of patience…. Rush, and sadly, you won’t see many benefits.”  

Read about the two strategies Sluss recommends for leaders seeking to build their patience: “Becoming a More Patient Leader” in the Harvard Business Review.

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