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Delayed gratificationThat I do delayed gratification with aplomb is sometimes irksome to me. Mostly when I’m ready to do, be or have something and encounter a block of some kind. That’s when I become impatient. After all, I’ve waited long enough and I want the reward now!

There’s a lot of impatience in the business world. Whether you’re running a company for someone else or have your own business, our time is pressured. And if you’re a people manager you may not always feel the benefit of having others to help you get the job done.

Leaders can handle delayed gratification

There’s an idea that leaders must be able to handle delayed gratification. And that our ‘payoff’ comes after we have helped others to be successful. As a consequence of employees being human and not robots, this process can take a few weeks, months or even years.

Good leaders take a genuine interest in people and you can appreciate why that’s important. If this takes up too much mental and emotional energy then people management probably isn’t for you.

Authentic leaders find this less of a struggle because their natural orientation is to think in the future, not in the moment. And they think long and big; rather than short and small.

Patient leaders cope better with delayed gratification

How comfortable you are with delayed gratification can be seen as a filter for determining whether you think like a manager or a leader. Since managers tend to view themselves as being busy and hectic all the time. And leaders create a sense of time and space. Moreover, they always seem to have the long view in mind.

Establishing and building a business from scratch has taught me to have patience. In addition I’ve had to teach the team to be comfortable with delayed gratification as well. That’s not always easy to do with the speed of change and the pressure felt to produce immediate results.

The best way to develop patience and enjoy delayed gratification is to create the vision. And to define the plan that will enable you to fulfill that vision. Then you can take satisfaction from the completion of every step. Since each action moves you closer towards achievement of the ultimate goal.

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