We’ve all been learning things during our entire lives. That’s called experience, and it’s what helps you build valuable skills and teach others.
But wisdom is more subtle than just stuff you know.
It’s about putting choices into a larger context: namely, your values. And the values of the larger community you operate within.
Let’s say that you’re faced with a difficult choice of whether to let an employee go because of mistakes that they’ve made. You start with an analysis of the risks of keeping them versus the risks of firing them. You ponder the impacts, both positive and negative, on the rest of the team. You consider effects on customers and partners.
Of course, that still often leaves you with an unclear decision. And of course you may be in an emotional state, so you might not trust your gut. It’s a good idea to sleep on the decision to let your emotions settle down.
Wisdom comes in when you access your touchstone: the values of your organization. What have you stated as the balance of results versus teamwork? How tolerant you are of mistakes? Being aggressive versus supportive?
Perhaps you haven’t yet captured the values which would be used to make a decision like this. But that itself presents the opportunity to help articulate your values by however you move ahead.
Because everybody will be watching your leadership in a tough situation like this. Rarely are you making a decision that nobody knows about.
So put on your most thoughtful self, tap your wisdom and that of wise advisers, then move forward with determination and clarity. And be transparent with those affected, explaining your logic in terms of “who we want to be” more than “why I got pushed into this dilemma.”
There’s a great chance they’ll support you.
I’ve developed a tool which helps leaders to assess how they’re doing on these foundational elements. I’ll send you a customized report when you fill it out, giving you some feedback and ideas for where your attention might give the most powerful results. Check it out!