Finding Wisdom at Work

Fortunately, every time we think about wisdom and make an effort to pause and contemplate a potential role for true leadership in whatever we are about to say or do, we move a step closer to achieving it. But unfortunately, many leaders don’t take time to consider the larger issues when short term profits are at stake.

Whenever I’m working with a coaching client, we discuss some of the ways they think wisdom comes into play for them. While individual answers vary, most people find decision-making to be most challenging.

Wisdom in the workplace typically implies two distinct areas of wise behavior:

  1. The wisdom of decision-making.
    1. Knowing what information to use in decision-making.
    2. Creating a culture of knowledge in order to acquire that information in a timely fashion.
    3. Assessing it in both short- and long-term frameworks.
  2. Reaping the financial rewards that come with shrewd financial choices.

In many cases, business wisdom involves plain hard work, coupled with intelligence in several domains: knowledge, social intelligence, emotional regulation, compassion and concern for the common good.

Wisdom is more an ideal aspiration than a state of mind or a pattern of behavior that we customarily employ. The mere act of thinking about wisdom nudges us closer to it.

When you encounter a problem or dilemma, if you ask yourself, “What would be the wisest thing to do here?” you increase your chances of making a judicious choice.

Yet it’s rarely that simple. How do we make complex, complicated decisions and choices in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity? What makes some of these decisions so clearly sound that we intuitively recognize them as a moment of human wisdom?

Ultimately, without an understanding of the elements that comprise wisdom, it eludes us. In what ways do you have an opportunity to use wisdom in your work? I’d love to hear from you.


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