Antsy Pants


One of the most significant common denominators among leaders is the responsibility of decision-making. Leaders are required to make decisions, often big, influential decisions, on a regular basis. Knowing how we make decisions is a crucial element to greater than leadership, and the force behind decision-making is usually motivation.

I love to study how people are motivated. I think this is one of the most instrumental elements of an individual’s leadership ability. One assessment I use frequently divides core motivation into five categories; power, personal performance, process, effect upon an object, and defined purpose. When it comes to my motivation, I’m the type who, once I’ve discerned a direction or affirmed a decision I have been mulling over I want immediate action. Green light – go! This woman does not like to wait. I am highly motivated to complete.

Yes, I am your classic antsy pants. Sure, I’ll take forever to make a decision, but once the decision has been made, I want to see changes occur immediately. As a leader, I waiver and falter when my plans are not carried out within the security of a specific time frame.

For me, the thought of having to wait on action steps ~ and the accompanying emotions and obstacles I instantly anticipate ~ usually equates to a lack of patience and an abundance of exasperation. I become irritated and intolerant. I try to fit square pegs in round holes, I cut corners, and I lean hard on those I lead. When I step back and look at the big picture, this is not the healthy leadership I’m working to demonstrate.

There’s a reason the proverb says, “Patience is a virtue” and in Aesop’s fable “slow and steady wins the race.” Patient leaders don’t make rash decisions. They take the time to seek input from others, to learn their environment, to study the climate that is or would be impacted by their choices. And when the time comes to move forward with their decision, they do so with confidence.

It seems to me that our current culture values quick and easy or fast and furious over deliberate and, frankly, informed. In the Information Age we've been programmed to believe the answers are right at our fingertips. We have eliminated the art of observation, education, and experience; all qualities of a patient leader. Instead, we take for truth what’s presented immediately in front of us.

Patient leaders see the lack of immediate clarity as an opportunity not a burden. They value learning and listening. So, instead of being antsy try committing yourself to being grateful (an excellent antidote for anxiety); grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate excellence and preparation, grateful for the time to engage your community, and grateful for the chance to exhibit strength and resolve.

Deb Gorton