Patience is NOT my strong suit.
I have an obsessive personality. When I do something, I throw myself into it 150%. I can even multitask obessively – and I’m good at doing it. So when I have multiple projects, I am fully committed to all of them and want to race through them and get them complete and out the door so I can move onto the next.
Sometimes, this works to my advantage. Some things like open enrollment require a constant nagging and a sense of impatience: “Do this now or you won’t have benefits. K?” Others require a little bit of pushing to accomplish a final product. I’ve been working on an onboarding site for months now and it’s basically done. In my mind, it took forever. But I spoke with a colleague today who said that it was the first initiative she had actually seen completed since she started here almost 3 years ago.
Talk about an ego boost…
On the other hand, sometimes the whole impateince thing works to my detriment. Just a few hours after my head started to swell out of control, in response to an e-mail in which I was bothering someone about the status of initiatives I’m working on, I was told that I’m pushing too hard and that things don’t work at the pace that I want them to because there are other priorities that need to be addressed. The e-mail said that while a lot of my interests are important (and the e-mail was very clear about saying that they ARE still important), essentially, I need to chill out. I’m pissing people off and it needs to stop. Whoops.
Luckily, the person who told me this is someone I respect and someone who knows that I’ll accept it as constructive criticism and not a slap on the wrist (even if that’s what it feels like). When I wrote back a sincere e-mail admitting that patience is something I need to work on and that I would back off, the response was this: “I wouldn’t back off, I would just back down…a little :)”.
The lesson here is to know your limits. If I backed off, my onboarding site might perpetually be in process and my social media guidelines would never get published. But letting things go for more than a week might be slightly more apropos than sending bothersome follow-up e-mails after the 7 days have gone by without reaching a conclusion. The point is this: have a voice and a opinion and do your best to get things taken care, but don’t be blinded by your own enthusiasm to the extent that you think your project is the only thing that matters. As much as you’d like to believe that, it’s not, and the more you believe it, the more you’re going to piss your teammembers off.
Figure out when to push and when not to. Sometimes you’ll need to back off…but just a little.