Distinguishing the Wise from the Foolish

Donkey

The most talented fool in the world only brings misery and destruction. Business is more than numbers and results. Leaders go astray when they neglect character at the expense of abilities.

The gifts and talents of fools makes them dangerous.

Wake up call:

It’s possible to be talented and foolish. 

Wisdom and foolishness are about behavior and attitude not intelligence. Smart people act foolishly and dumb people act wisely.

Skill before character is dangerous.
Smart leaders develop talent and wisdom.

Seven marks of foolishness:

  1. Harshness.
  2. Jealousy and envy. Fools can’t enjoy the success of others.
  3. Self-protectiveness.
  4. Persistent anger.
  5. Selfish ambition. Fools throw others under the bus for personal advantage.
  6. Shading the truth to make yourself look good. Ethics are negotiable to fools.
  7. Taking advantage of others. Fools are OK with deals where others lose.

When you see foolish qualities in talented people, run or protect yourself. Smart people can display the behavior of fools. Every time you say, I knew better than that, you acknowledge you acted foolishly.

Successful leaders look for wisdom and talent.

Seven marks of wisdom:

  1. Flexibility. Wise leaders hear good arguments and change their minds. Fools are belligerent, argumentative, and hard-headed. When was the last time you changed your mind?
  2. Focus. Flexibility isn’t wishy-washy. Wise leaders remain tenacious about mission and vision.
  3. Strong relationships. A fool’s life is characterized by short-term relationships. Enduring relationships reveal wisdom.
  4. Providing second chances. Leaders who don’t give second chance create fearful, self-protective cultures.
  5. Commitment to the well-being of others.
  6. Predictability. Consistency makes wise people predictable.
  7. Respect for all regardless of position. Fools kiss butt.

It’s likely you see yourself on both lists. The good news is, we behave our way into wisdom. Trajectory is the deeper issue. Are you stepping toward wisdom or foolishness?

Which foolish behaviors are most tempting to leaders?

Which wise behaviors are most useful to leaders?

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