Discernment in Leadership

DISCERNMENT  - Image from Pastoral Ponderings

DISCERNMENT - Image from Pastoral Ponderings

Discernment - The ability to judge well.

John Maxwell states that discernment can be described as the ability to find the root of the matter. He also notes that discernment relies on intuition as well as rational thought.

When making decisions, if we wait until all of the possible information is available, we will find ourselves behind the competition or delivering late on proposals. We need to be willing to use intuition along with the information available at the time when we make decisions that will affect those around us. These decisions will not always be flawless, but the more we step out and practice decision making in this manner, we will increase our ability to discern the right direction.

Here are some thoughts about maximizing the effectiveness of discernment in our own lives:

1) Seek the root of an issue - In many cases we may not be able to get a complete picture, so take the information available and exercise discernment in the decisions that must be made. “Organizational effectiveness…lies in the blend of clearheaded logic and powerful intuition” - Henry Mintzberg

2) Enhance your problem solving - A great way to develop and grow your ability to discern is to work and focus in your area of strength. Do not try to have all the answers to all the problems.

3) Evaluate your options for maximum impact - “Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it’s enough” - Robert Heller

4) Multiply your opportunities - Be willing to follow your instincts, based upon your previous experiences. Are you willing to trust your intuition as much as you do your intellect and experience?

Do you have a mentor, leader, or historic hero in life whose discernment you trust and admire? Study those individuals, read their biography, pay attention to the reasons behind their conclusions. Ask them questions to glean from their insights. Through it all, listen to your gut feelings, they are trying to tell you something.