How Great Leaders Persist Politely


Please Daddy?


Please, please, pleeeeease?

I said No.

Ok then……But pleaaaaasse, can I have just one more?

It was the weekly Sunday afternoon struggle. I love looking after my two kids on the weekend with the exception of meal times. They both get a treat after their lunch – usually their grandmothers legendary home-made ginger biscuits.

Except my son has developed this belief that one biscuit is no longer enough.

An hour later, after a lovely session of painting conkers and glueing them to tinsel, my son trotted over. Seeing his opportunity, he went for the kill:

Can I please have one more biscuit?

We all know persistence is an essential trait to success. Whether in business, pleasure or our personal lives, nothing worth having happens overnight. It’s essential to keep going.

But at the same time persist too hard and you run the risk of becoming annoying.

So how do you get the balance right?

Here are some ways how great leaders persist politely.


They stay cool

It’s frustrating being kept waiting.

Especially if our success or progress depends on the cooperation or actions of others.

However perhaps the worst thing any of us can do when trying to get the collaboration of others is to get emotional, desperate or angry.

Everyone has there own priorities. What’s important to us, might not be to another person. Most people are usually more than happy to help, and usually have good reasons for not getting back to you.

Great leaders understand that persistence and patience are usually closely linked. In order to get the real prizes in life it’s usually necessary to play the waiting game – since this is something the vast majority of people are simply not prepared to do. Rather than trying to force others, sometimes it’s more productive to stay cool and wait until the timing is better.

Great leaders persist coolly.

They use different techniques

Nowadays, everyone is busy.

Whether work, pleasure or family we all have numerous platforms to communicate and engage with each other. From email to text message, from Facebook to WhatsApp.

In order to persist effectively it’s sometimes better to try changing approach. In ten years as a recruiter, it still amazes me how many candidates give up on an opportunity after not receiving a reply from a single email. Or conversely how others continuously bombard with email after email without trying a different approach.

Most of us read all the messages we get. Simply repeating the same thing over again is unlikely to have much effect. Tried emailing – then why not try calling? Still no luck, then how about a text? Maybe even worth discussing in person?

Great leaders understand that persistence often requires changing approach. We all respond to different things so if something isn’t working it’s necessary to adjust.

Great leaders adjust as necessary.

They use humour

The best sales person I know is a lady who sells software into banks.

She has regularly sold over $10 million in new business annually for the past ten years. In order to do this, she is naturally very persistent – and follows every single sales lead diligently until the deal closes.

One of the techniques she uses effectively in doing this is humour. Whenever she follows up with any sales prospect, she commonly opens the conversation by joking how the clients probably forgotten about her and how distraught she is.

Although simple, in the formal business world humour can be a powerful tool in persistenting with others. Great leaders understand that rather than always being serious, using humour can be a great way to connect emotionally with others and bring transparency. We might not always respond to the most reasonable argument, but we always appreciate those who make us laugh.

Great leaders use humour.


If you don’t persist you’ll never get something worth having.

But persist too hard and you’ll just push others away.

Successful leaders realise that persisting politely is an essential skill to succeed and use the right techniques and urgency depending on the situation.

Do you persist politely?


Like this post? Take a look at:

  • Why great leaders embrace getting older
  • Why great leaders encourage their followers to move on
  • How great leaders budget their time

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