Posts Tagged ‘Leadership Virtue’

Prudence and Leadership

When was the last time you heard the word prudent in a leadership development conversation?

Photo by Joe Annenah

Perhaps, you will be surprised at just how appropriate it is. 

Consider these four qualities of a prudent person:

  1. Resource Management: smart use of assets
  2. Common Sense: able to deal with practical matters
  3. Foresight: sound judgment is used to consider likely consequences…and then, make adjustments to minimize risk
  4. Self-discipline: that powerful ability to govern and discipline oneself using reason

Prudence is about the ability to handle practical matters with good judgment.

Whether you are leading your life, a department, or entire company prudence is good to have.

How do we become prudent?

This ancient proverb gives “the secret”…

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways; the folly of fools is deception.

This proverb brings emphasis to a reflective personal growth path. As I like to say:

The best predictor of continued success is the ability and willingness to learn and changed achieved through consistent reflection on truth found in the story.

Reflection, thinking and writing, supports the success of my executive coaching process. It a key discipline of successful people.  If you desire accelerated personal development, increase this practice by creating space.

As I recently wrote in The Battle for Personal Development

Transformation is about experiencing a change in ourselves, usually seen in behavior.  Personal growth and development takes time.  The pace of life, those distractions, and the information overload all seek to hinder the process of growth.

Growth is about becoming more mature.  For this to happen we must create space…time and place to tap into resources that support personal growth.

Wisdom teaches us to give thought to our ways. The reward is insight leading to changed behavior, improved performance, and observable results…growth! How much would you like?

In my article “Reflection – The Accelerator of Success” I wrote,

When you engage your head and heart in careful thought about your Story you will discover truth; truth will liberate you from limiting behaviors bringing growth; growth leads to improved performance and results; success happens.  

Without prudence, not so nice.

Another word associated with prudence is foresight which brings together the ideas of wisdom, insight, and knowledge.  Wikipedia notes:

In this (foresight) case, the virtue is the ability to judge between virtuous and vicious actions, not only in a general sense, but with regard to appropriate actions at a given time and place.

Leading your life, department, or organization is greatly enhanced with an ability to choose wisely.  The big payoff of consistent reflection is a growing ability to execute.

What if prudence is minimized?

Returning to the Hebrew proverb, we find what happens if we fail to cultivate this virtue.  While the wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, the folly of fools is deception.

Deception is the practice of leading someone to believe something that is not true. When someone deliberately hides the truth from us our freedom is hindered.

Deception impacts our thinking, then our beliefs, expectations, attitude, behavior, and ultimately our performance. Success flows out of freedom and freedom comes from knowing the truth. 

Of course, we can work to convince ourselves of something that is not true, as well, self-deceived. Same result…loss of freedom, limited success.  

In my article “Reflection – The Accelerator of Success” I suggested that,

When you engage your head and heart in careful thought about your Story you will discover truth; truth will liberate you from limiting behaviors bringing growth; growth leads to improved performance and results; success happens. 

Being prudent is about creating space in our “busy lives” to give thought to our lives to support our personal growth, development in order have high impact.  Make a difference!

How do you rate yourself on these 4 qualities of a prudent person?

  1. The smart use of assets
  2. An ability to deal with practical matters
  3. Use of sound judgment to consider likely consequences…and make adjustments to minimize risk
  4. The powerful ability to govern and discipline oneself using reason

How well are you giving thought to your ways?

What else would hinder transformation of our lives?

What steps are you taking to create space for reflective thinking?

Please comment; I’d love to hear from you.