I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the president of a professional services firm. We had an enlightening coaching conversation that revolved around whether wisdom can be developed or learned.
My executive coaching client and I discussed how knowledge, social intelligence and experience have influenced his ability to make wise decisions. I am coaching my client to tap into his wisdom and creativity.
Wisdom in Action
Prudent decision-making lies at the heart of wisdom but it's not the whole story. In order to make a smart decision, a wise leader must draw upon intellectual, emotional, and social comprehension. To do so, one must:
• Gather information
• Discern reality from artifice
• Evaluate and edit the accumulating knowledge
• Listen with both heart and mind
• Consider what is morally right
• Weigh what is socially just
• Consider others as much as self
• Think about the here and now
• Consider future impact
In times of crisis, however, wisdom sometimes demands the paradoxical decision to resist action or judgment.
"Some of the wisest and most devout men have lived avoiding all noticeable actions." ~ Michel de Montaigne, French philosopher
There are no workbooks that, if you buy and read them, will turn you into an outstanding leader. Reading about wisdom will certainly open your mind to many possibilities, but to read about it without taking action is a fruitless endeavor.
When called upon in any challenging situation, no matter how trivial, if you slow down long enough to ask yourself the question, "What would be the wisest thing to do?" you will already be moving closer to making a more appropriate and apt decision.
The question allows you to slow down the sense of urgency long enough to consider other people, other issues, and future implications. Instead of reaching for immediate solutions to take away the burning problem, you have an opportunity to consider future needs down the road.
Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to search for their executive wisdom? Wise leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to make good decisions.
One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “What would be the wisest thing to do here?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.