Question on patience LO22004

John Gunkler (
Sun, 27 Jun 1999 10:10:47 -0500

Replying to LO21981 --

William Auvinen-Bray asks if patience affects an organizational leader's
ability to lead.

Yes ... dramatically. I'm sure others with amplify.

Let me just put one other twist on what "patience" can look like.

When I'm trying to learn something, a very wise colleague and mentor of
mine once taught me to "play dumb." He did it by example. We were trying
to find out what was happening to the productivity in a steel mill. My
friend had worked in steel mills as a college student (summers) and was
the son of a career steel mill worker. Yet he never let people know that
he knew anything about the place! I was astonished by the "simple"
questions he asked (knowing full well that he could answer them better
than his "informants") -- and was even more astonished, after a short
while, at the depth of information he was getting from people.

This is a kind of patience that is very difficult to cultivate -- but very
worthwhile. If people believe you "know everything" then they don't tell
you the important things that you don't know.


"John Gunkler" <>

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