Creative Leadership

Prudence: The Forgotten Word in Leadership

There are a lot of books on leadership from a variety of perspectives. But none that I know of on the subject of “prudence.” In our culture today, prudence has become an uptight, unfashionable word. In fact, in our sex-obsessed society, the idea of “prudent” is the last thing anyone wants to be. But let’s look at the definition:

– Careful good judgment that allows someone to avoid danger or risks
– The ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason
– Shrewdness in the management of affairs
– Skill and good judgment in the use of resources
– Caution as to danger or risk

Not such a bad checklist for leaders. Maybe that should be my next book….

What do you think? Is prudence worth a second look?

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  1. Prudence is what lawyers are trained to do. They carefully try to avoid as many risks as possible. But, lawyers are not known for building creative companies. Entrepreneurs take risks. One can be prudent and avoid risks or one can be creative and take risks but it is tough to do both at the same time.

    1. Fair enough. But I’ve seen so many leaders step down this year from adultery, financial mismanagement, and other stuff, that I’d like them to start thinking more about managing THOSE risks… 🙂

  2. As a Spanish/English translator and editor, I have found that prudence (from the Latin *prudentia*) and wisdom are often interchangeable, depending on the context. In fact, the Spanish Royal Academy Dictionary defines wisdom, among other things, as “prudent conduct in life or in business.” We all generally agree on how important wisdom is. We should likewise value prudence as one of the four cardinal virtues (also identified as such by the Spanish Royal Academy in the religious sense of the word). So you are, no doubt, on to something!

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