“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.”
This is extremely valuable advice for us as leaders and it comes into play in several instances.
Consider your coaching and mentoring role. With a relatively inexperienced employee do you want to share everything they did wrong (all at the same time)? Know what to overlook.
From an organizational leadership perspective, do we want to get lost in the details and minutiae of a project, acting, knowingly or unknowingly as a micro manager? Know what to overlook.
When receiving feedback or results from a 360 assessment, are you focused completely on your weaknesses or faults, or do you take a balanced view, recognizing, valuing and capitalizing on your strengths as well? Know what to overlook.
I could go on, but I hope that these three examples give you a context to consider the wisdom of William James from a leadership perspective.
Finally, make answering these questions be one of your leadership activities for the day.
By James’ definition, how wise am I?
As a leader, what do I have trouble overlooking and why is that?