Habit #3 Nurture an attitude of wisdom.
“It's not what you don't know that gets you in trouble, it's what you know for sure that ain't so.” - Mark Twain
So what exactly is an attitude of wisdom? For the purposes of this writing, I will define an "attitude of wisdom" as being confident in what you know well, but distrusting enough of what you don't know. Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement. And what do we know about each of these qualities? We know that experience is acquired over time. Knowledge comes from the process of education. And lastly, good judgement is the ability to make sensible conclusions.
Now that we have established a clearer picture of wisdom, what are some of the ways in which you can begin to nurture wisdom in your leadership? Learn to quickly assess what you do know, and what you don't know. It's critical that you are honest when doing these self-assessments. Be confident in the wisdom that you possess from years of experience and learning, however, be cautious around the accuracy of your conclusions. If you don't have a clear and sensible conclusion, embrace the opportunity to learn something new. In other words, don't be overconfident. See Christine M. Riordan's article, "Three Ways Overconfidence Can Make You a Fool" for a more in-depth look at the perils of overconfidence.
If nothing else remember that you should never gamble more than you can stand to lose. And understanding the pull towards over-confidence reminds us all, team members and team builders alike, that rational humility is a strategy worth cultivating, no matter how much it takes us uncomfortably away from our natural tendency to be, at times, preening blowhards.
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