How can we achieve wisdom in the workplace – through the discipline of yoga, meditation and philosophy? Or can it simply be achieved through the practice of good management and decision-making? Following a recent research project, Massey University’s Associate Professor David Pauleen and Dr Ali Interazi, discovered these three fundamental skills of wise decision-making: Multi-perspective consideration:This is the ability to integrate different perspectives when making a decision. The consequences of the decision are anticipated, various perspectives are taken into account and ethical codes are considered. Values – those of the decision-maker as well as those affected by the decision and the community as a whole – are all part of the process. It means having a true understanding of the bigger picture as understanding others’ actions is critical to making the right decision. Self-Other Awareness: This is the decision-maker’s awareness of self, integrated with his/her awareness of the surrounding environment (or other awareness). Our findings show that wise managers have an accurate understanding of their own personal capacities – what they know and what they do not know – and their abilities and inabilities, interests, values and beliefs. They can also clearly perceive the external environment, including stakeholders’ interests. Their self-awareness is always accompanied by an awareness of what is going on around them, within and outside their organisations. This allows them to confidently and fearlessly admit when their ideas or thoughts are implausible or wrong. Cognitive-Emotional Mastery:This is the extent to which decision-makers integrate their cognitive abilities with their non-rational decision-making skills. Wise business decisions rely on the integration of certainty and doubt and wise managers incorporate into their decisions what they know, while applying a considered estimation of what they do not know. Lacking this integration of certainty and doubt may lead the manager to overestimate the value of their knowledge and underestimate the impact of unknown elements or apparently irrelevant factors. Wise managers never ignore logical reasoning as they might need it when it comes to justifying their decisions in front of stakeholders. Yet they know that emotion, intuition and imagination are powerful sources in decision-making too.
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