Brad Wentzel: Patience is a leadership virtue when replacing parts


CFO Brad Wentzel explains the need to practise patience when leading finance teams, especially during difficult and chaotic times.

The excitement to continue on the journey is palpable. The plan lies sprawled out in front of you in an array of parts and lists, each step of the endeavour carefully considered – including the eventualities and pitfalls.

A lot of people will tell you that new is better, lasts longer, or is more efficient. And while it’s far easier to purchase a whole new engine for your motorcycle than bring the shine back to the existing one, our duties as leaders are to reinvest in, reframe, refurbish and restore our team. After all, our destination is a restoration and update of an existing classic, not an overhaul, gutting or replacement thereof.

However, on some rare occasions when we have exhausted all other options, the parts are simply beyond repair and we have to procure new ones. This is when leaders need to learn the subtle art of patience, because we are no longer the masters of our own destiny. We are subject to the vagaries of complex and often frustrating timelines and interdependent supply chains.

Why patience? Patience shows your ability to stay grounded and consistent in any situation. As CFOs, we are often role models for those we lead. To gain their trust, we need to demonstrate our ability to remain stoic and steadfast in adversity and unwavering in chaos. We have to be prime examples of self-control in any situation, regardless of how dire it is.

How do you practise patience? By always understanding and remembering the ultimate goal: managing the things we can control and being okay with the things we can’t. There is a Chinese proverb that states: “One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin one’s life.”

Your team relies on you to be a strong and steady driver, even if you see a pothole or speed bump on the horizon.

The impact of patience

Traditionally, the art of leadership is broken into two main camps: task-oriented and relationship-oriented leaders. The greatest leaders are able to find a balance between the two. For each of these leaders, patience has a different impact.

Task-oriented leaders – often referred to as the futurists – create powerful visions and outline the metrics needed to achieve the goal. A futurist might find they amplify the impact of the vision, which can take long to be ingrained into team members who might have doubt.

Relationship oriented leaders – referred to as facilitators – create places of collaboration and empowerment to solve solutions. A facilitator could find the collaboration process breaks down without patience if the team takes longer to settle into a new project’s pace.

In the modern day of speed, service delivery and side hustles, patience is often quickly forgotten, but can be powerful when leading your teams. Deploy this consciously and regularly in all interactions.

Prolific poet, essayist, popular lecturer, and advocate of social reforms Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Patience and fortitude conquer all things.”

Seeing that I have ordered my next parts from the United Kingdom, which will arrive by sea via the blacklogged Durban harbour, I will be deploying both in equal heaped measures in the coming months. Will you?

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