Can Good Judgment Be Taught?

In a conversation this week with friend and wise leader Robert Schepens, he raised the question whether good judgment, which obviously can be learned, can be taught. The poignancy of the question relates to the growing complexity of work that defies mindless compliance to predictable rules. My first reflection is that yes, it can be taught. I think several elements would need to be at play to make this possible.

It would take an immersion experience where people repeatedly get engaged in a variety of scenarios where they learn the tacit skillsets and mindsets required for good judgment. The process would be designed so they learn the core of good judgment: imagining possible implications of action options. They would also learn the corollary competency of knowing what questions they need to be operating from. Wisdom is always knowing the right questions especially in contexts where right answers might not be immediately obvious.

I've taught these competencies and have seen people make gains in their development. They become new mindsets operating at the level of emotions, which is what gives them their power and sustainability.

I think learning good judgment is absolutely critical in any organization committed to engagement because engagement only occurs in a culture of trustworthiness and good judgment is absolutely critical to trustworthiness.