The Importance of Wisdom and How It Can Harvest Better Decisions
Wisdom needs to be nourished to harvest better decisions. Every growing season in your life depends on learning what you can do to deliver a bumper crop of success the following year.
Wisdom is often associated with age and experience. It is the tuition we pay from our mistakes, disappointments, successes and failures. It is up to you to take advantage and gain perspective to make better decisions in the future.
I think we can all agree that paying tuition does not necessarily lead to the enlightenment of critical thinking as many newly graduated college people are beginning to recognize, perhaps to the dismay of parents who have helped foot that bill. Therein lies the crux of the problem.
If you don’t have “skin in the game,” the tuition of learning doesn’t get personally internalized. Internalization creates the motivation to own results, to progress, to develop, and nourish the seeds that produce a bumper crop of wisdom. The key element for a successful harvest? Personal responsibility for your future growth.
Wisdom needs to be nourished to harvest better decisions. If you accept victimhood over responsibility, then wisdom will produce a low yield that will not fill your career silo to sustain you during the winter months of life. Every growing season in your life depends on learning what you can do to deliver a bumper crop of success the following year. What can you do?
Be an active learner and accept the lessons which failures teach us. Analyze them objectively, stop blaming others and make more informed decisions about your career and life. No need to beat yourself up, just accept the fact that only you will steer the tractor. Apply the lessons of failure in a positive way.
In your 20s-30s, you compare your progress to others you perceive to be more successful, who have more than you do, are better looking, more privileged and happier … on the surface. Big mistake.
Oscar Wilde famously said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” If you must compare yourself, compare yourself to who you were yesterday and who you will become tomorrow, and what steps you need to own to move forward. People often blame bad bosses for their lack of progress. Another big mistake.
They are your teachers, imparting lessons that you, at the time, may not recognize the value of the experience they are sharing with you. I had my share of them in my career, and at that time I did not recognize their gift to me.
Those lessons taught me what I would not do in the future when I reached their level of authority and became a leader of others. Recognizing their weaknesses developed my career. I thank them — they helped developed my wisdom.
Wisdom helped me to differentiate poor leaders from true leaders who were tough on me, who could teach me and who held me accountable for results that contributed to their goals. Always embrace tough leaders who want to develop you and who are fair. I have always learned from those leaders in my career and in the military to become the wise old man I am today. Here is why.
They always had my back, supported me in public and dressed me down in private (most of the time). I learned where I fell short in my decisions and was expected to not make the same mistake again. They taught me my most valuable business lessons.
In business leadership your prime directive is to develop and leverage the human assets you are given to accomplish the mission. Wisdom takes time, patience, hard work, active learning, parking a big ego and serving others. What steps might help you become that kind of leader?
- Self-awareness of your strengths and more importantly your weaknesses. This is fundamental to gaining wisdom.
- Step back and utilize assessment tools to recognize these key factors. We utilize DiSC assessments for both leaders and their direct reports. The comparative reports can help you lead more effectively, along with a little bit of remote training.
- Focus on your communication skills. You will have a natural communication style. It may not align with the team you lead who have different styles.
- Adjust your leadership communication style to develop the best results for your team. This will build your career, wisdom and results you are expected to deliver.
These steps helped me refine my leadership skills and business success in my corporate and entrepreneurial career during the past 40 years in the security industry. Seek wisdom, and people will listen and follow you too. Next month, more about wisdom!
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