In a world where we don’t have to wait as often as we used to, it seems like patience is becoming harder for many of us to develop.

As technology advances, our society continues to cater to instant gratification. More specifically, companies are capitalizing on what they have determined is a valuable commodity. Most amusement parks sell Fast Passes, a paid service that allows guests to skip to the front of the line for various rides and attractions. I can also pay for faster internet, grocery delivery, and overnight shipping. Not only do many of these offerings save time, but they also require less effort.

While some things don’t require the same amount of waiting that they once did, there are some areas of life where waiting remains inescapable. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in the realm of leadership, where good things still take time. You can’t lead others effectively unless you can cultivate trust, and trust is usually built brick by brick. Without patience and consistency, you’ll struggle to develop meaningful trust.

Building relational trust is like making deposits in a bank account. Each positive interaction adds incremental value to the account. Over time, you’ll receive compounding interest on the amount of trust you’ve added to the account. It won’t build exponentially over a short time, but over the course of several years, it can grow to astronomical amounts.

Obviously, this takes time and energy, but it’s important because we can do so much more together than we ever could apart. As we learn from Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” The message is clear – our capacity is limited when we’re working alone, but when we come together with others, our strength increases exponentially.

For this reason, we’re willing to do the work it takes to earn the respect of those we lead. That said, we won’t always get it right. This is simply a part of the human experience. The goal is to build the account to the point that a withdrawal doesn’t fully deplete the balance. When we commit to earning respect and building trust among the people we lead, we’ll be able to replenish small withdrawals by apologizing, admitting that we are wrong, and taking steps to make things right.

Of course, we should be clear that not all withdrawals are created equally. For as long as trust takes to cultivate, it can be fragile and should be treated with the utmost care. Few things in life that take years to build can be wiped out in an instant, but such is certainly the case for trust. By putting trust in perspective, we avoid the temptation of taking trust for granted and continue to uphold it in the high regard it deserves.

Most importantly, we must remember that influence, not positional authority, is what commands a following. We should aspire to be leaders that people want to follow, whether they have to or not. If we can become this type of leader, we’ll have a much better chance of achieving a higher impact.

David Grimm