Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



206 919 6440


How To Cultivate The Skill Of Discernment?

Today, I am excited to explore the invaluable quality of discernment and why true leaders possess and display this ability. The last blog, titled: A Leader’s Superpower, explored the hidden value of the quality of discernment. – Discernment can sound like a lofty pursuit! And to dispel this myth, we unlocked the reality that discernment is simply showing a good sense of judgment! We also discussed how showing good judgment is a balancing act and is essential to making good decisions.

To further explore this, let’s take a trip down memory lane… Can you recall an incident when a leader made a puzzling decision? One that you later learned hurt others or caused harm to the organization? I bet most of us can recall such an incident! And it is worth remembering that we are all human, and mistakes are inevitable. However, it greatly benefits us to know how to avoid costly mistakes and minimize damage to ourselves and others. And to do so, knowing what enables one to develop and exercise a good sense of judgment is imperative. – This begs the question: What characteristics enable one to develop a good sense of judgment?

First, be a learner.
We all make mistakes. And being a learner enables one to accept mistakes and seek new ways to grow and improve. Also, seeking to learn propels us to involve others in our thinking. And this is important because while we can accomplish some goals alone, nothing of great consequence gets achieved in isolation.

Here is a way to build this capability: What is a skill that you are not proficient in – yet? It can span the gamut from doing presentations to hobbies. Who do you know that is adept at this skill? Consider asking them to help you build the skill. – This could happen over a couple of meetings or several get-togethers when you observe them in action.

Second, have courage.
When I hear the word: courage, the first image that comes to mind is the movie: Braveheart! Perhaps, you think of that too, or an epic character! And, often when we think of courage, we think of bravery, but the two qualities are quite different. Because unlike being brave, courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the quality that enables us to act despite fear. And with a courageous mindset, one can work through their fears and be brave – stand up for what is right and take on bold actions – fully aware of the risks yet undeterred by fear.
In addition, being courageous enables us to give freely because our primary goal is not to build a fan club or please others. And this is important because a bold decision though sound, may not be welcomed by others.

Consider how you might display courage. – It is worth remembering that you can show courage by asking for help. Because asking for help takes vulnerability.

Third, be generous.
Generosity is the third quality we need to show good judgment. And generosity allows us to give freely without expecting a return. Also, being generous enables us to acknowledge others and consider their perspectives. And this is important because you cannot lead without followers. Notably, a follower is not a fan, and getting followers is not about gathering fans for your fan club. Instead, getting someone to follow a cause requires endearing their hearts and minds such that they take ownership of an idea and advance the cause.
A simple way to display generosity is to acknowledge others. But sometimes, in organizations, we think one has to have grand accomplishments to be worthy of acknowledgment. And this limits our ability to recognize or acknowledge those around us. But we can recognize others for simple actions like researching information or helping a co-worker in a time of need.

Consider this: who around you could benefit from being recognized for a kind gesture? What could you do to recognize them?

You might have heard that a leader’s most important role is to make good judgments – well-informed and wise decisions that produce the desired outcomes. (SOURCE: https://hbr.org/2007/10/making-judgment-calls) And this is true. It is also worth noting that the opportunity to lead is not only available to those with a title. Indeed each of us has opportunities to display leadership through the course of our lives and careers. And each of us can positively impact the lives of others by exercising good judgment – by being discerning!

For you and to you,



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *