“Help Ever – Hurt Never” and the Lost Skill of Discernment

Help Ever Hurt Never - 1I saw a bumper sticker on the way to meet a friend for breakfast this morning. It said “Help Ever – Hurt Never.” I thought “What a great idea.” And I thought “What a great way to live”.

Help Ever Hurt Never - 2And then it hit me. That doesn’t make as much sense as I thought that it did a few moments ago. If that statement were true, and the more that I think about the more that I don’t think it is, then going to the dentist or going to the doctor would take on a whole new set of anticipations. Most trips to the dentist involve a little bit of pain.  But it is for my own good.  And usually because I didn’t do as good at brushing and flossing as I should.  The dentist is helping me.  But he is also actually hurting me a little bit.

You see signs like that all over the place and you need to be careful that you take a look at them on something a little more than just a surface level. You need to be a little discerning in your reading and in your application of what you read.

So what is the Leadership Lesson in this?

Help Ever Hurt Never - 3It is this. We need to be discerning leaders. There are many things that cross our desks and come to us via emailed newsletters. In fact, we put out a newsletter every week and I hope you are a subscriber. And if you are a subscriber, I hope that you read each article with a discerning heart and a discerning mind. Each of our contributors comes from a different perspective. And Leadership Voices is all about bringing you as many voices to the conversation as we can.

But I am digressing. The point that I really want to make today is that discernment has become a lost skill. It seems as though folks are having a harder and harder time distinguishing between potential decision points. Here is my perspective on this. My discernment requirements are often for making choices between two options that are both fully acceptable, but will have very different outcomes. At this stage of the game, I am not choosing between good and evil, right and wrong, left or right. These days I am having to choose between two options that seem to have varying degrees of potential success. I could choose either and be okay.

But as a leader, I need to choose the one with the greater potential for positive outcome for my organization. As a leader I am responsible for more than just me. And I need to be a discerning leader.

How about you? Are you a discerning leader? What kinds of choices are you faced with each day on your journey?

Photo credit: mattlemmon / Foter / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: Goofla / Foter / CC BY-ND
Photo credit: Tim Green aka atoach / Foter / CC BY

4 Replies to ““Help Ever – Hurt Never” and the Lost Skill of Discernment”

  1. Very good topic Kevin. The more involved I become with auditing, the more I am faced with points of discernment and how to proceed. There are times where there is a black/white decision, but those are easy. It’s the “gray” areas or the ones that have many variables that depend on evidence based discernment that make auditing both fun and a pain.

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