Do Leaders Really Need Good Judgment?

There was a time when that question would never have been asked. It was a foregone conclusion that sound judgment was a prerequisite for effective, authentic leadership.

Today however there are some leadership “experts” who are in fact asking that very question. They point out, correctly I might add, that today we have terabytes, and megabytes of data. We have charts and graphs and grids with every color of the rainbow looking at every possible situation from every possible angle. All the data, some experts say, leads the leader right to the proper decision. No real judgment is needed.

I’m not sure I can say crap in this blog but let me tell you, that “expert” thinking is a load of crap in there every was one. Today, as in every other day in history and as in every day in the future, judgment mixed with discernment, or as I prefer to call it “judgcernment” is as vital as it ever was or ever will be.

The experts point out that using data takes the personal bias out of a leader’s decision making and thought process. Well isn’t that just swell; we no longer need a leader who thinks, they just have to be able to read a pie chart. That’s just crazy!

Data may provide facts but wisdom comes from judgment.

We need wise leaders. I want a leader who applies their “life lens” to a situation. I want a leader who uses their experience to make a decision. If the right person is doing the leading I even want them applying their own bias to the decision making process.  

Good leaders have good data but great leaders use their experience and knowledge to judge what data to believe. It might be possible to manage using pure data but people won’t be managed, they want to be led. When you attempt to remove the “human element” from leading human beings the result is utter leadership failure. I’ve never seen a person’s life illustrated on a spreadsheet but there are empty cells in everyone’s history. Judgcernment is required to fill in those blanks.

Is good judgment still a prerequisite for leadership success? Decide for yourself but know this; your answer likely will speak volumes about the authenticity of your own leadership approach.

9 thoughts on “Do Leaders Really Need Good Judgment?

    1. Thanks, I really hope they day never comes when the majority of so called experts believe that data from a machine can replace human judgment. There’s a reason why phones are called “smartphones” and not “wisephones” 🙂

  1. my definition of a leader is- a leader is the one who leads not only himself,but also his society,his nation.a leader is the one who wants to sow the seed of leadership in every indiviua before he dies so that his leadership lessons never dies with him

  2. “Happy” is a song by Pharrell Williams that’s become a worldwide phenomenon.

    As soon as you hear it, you’ll want to get up and dance, clap, sing, whatever.

    Pharrell created a web site to have “Happy” run 24/7 with anonymous dancers struttin their stuff on the streets of Los Angeles. I won’t go into the details. If you want more, visit my blog from a few weeks back.

    What were the odds of this working? Who knows. It’s never been done!

    Sure, Pharrell and his team could have looked at data showing the strength of “Happy.” How long would the public want to hear it? CERTAINLY not 24/7!

    Pharrell played a hunch and his judgement was spot on. Megahit!

    I looked at the 24/7 site “Happy” site and it’s rebranding itself for the United Nations Foundation.

    Happy weekend to everyone!

    1. Great example Steve! Nothing will ever beat human judgment, you just can’t get wisdom from data, no matter how much of it you have or how good it is.

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