Wise Leaders Display Flexible Fortitude

Wise leaders eschew the two behavioral extremes of smart leaders—sticking to decisions at any cost or giving up too quickly—and exhibit what we call flexible fortitude. Flexible fortitude means using one’s discernment to gauge when it’s appropriate to hold on to things and when it’s appropriate to let them go.

Rather than operating in fight-or-flight mode like many smart leaders tend to do, wise leaders choose a third path: they surrender to the context. In Western cultures, the word surrender implies passivity or giving up, but in Eastern traditions, especially in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, surrendering requires both will and grace.11 Indeed, it takes strength and courage to surrender one’s ego to ...

Get From Smart to Wise: Acting and Leading with Wisdom now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.