Friday poetry – Doubt Wisely

Reflecting on Monday’s post, and on management overconfidence generally, I remembered that I had blogged on a similar theme before. How do you maintain the aura of confidence that people want in their leaders when all you have is questions? When things are uncertain and you don’t have any answers, how to you come over as being self-assured? Confident but not really sure, as Bob Sutton says, or, as my good friend Mike Vernon puts it, “competently incompetent”.

It’s not easy. Asking questions can be much harder than giving answers. This dilemma brought to mind the reading that my wife chose for her confirmation. It’s part of a long poem by the 17th century lawyer, priest and MP John Donne. He was writing about religion but these lines work in any context:

…doubt wisely; in strange way
To stand inquiring right, is not to stray;
To sleep, or run wrong, is.

On a huge hill, Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will reach her, about must and about must go…

It’s 400 years old but as true as it ever was.

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2 Responses to Friday poetry – Doubt Wisely

  1. Pingback: Friday poetry – Doubt Wisely - Rick - Member Blogs - HR Blogs - HR Space from Personnel Today and Xpert HR

  2. Hi Rick, this made me think. I wrote this as part of a much longer poem but the essence is that we all have our individual strengths. We shouldn’t allow other people to govern over us and dictate what we can and cannot do as we all have a voice that’s equally as important as the next:

    It is only fair we don’t just sit
    To leave it to others to have their say
    We must all take action and joint responsibility
    For facilitating change of lost mobility
    The time is now, its ripe, it’s here
    We can’t afford to rest our laurels and just fear
    Reach in and realise, dig deep from your soul
    That your dreams, wishes, gifts, is your shoal

    by natalie cooper

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