This is the information age. More than at any other time in history, the world has virtually unlimited information at its fingertips. In a matter of minutes, even a child can tap into more information than a person in previous generations could acquire in a lifetime.
Not only can we learn from historical resources, we can also learn in real-time from the experts of today. There is no lack of knowledge.
In fact, the information age has become so pervasive and advanced that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming a real threat to the job market of the future. If all that is required is for someone to search for and process information or apply knowledge to action, sadly, humans are becoming replaceable.
As with any new advancement, threats can also carry inherent opportunities and new possibilities.
As such, the information age lends itself to a need that cannot (at least not yet) be filled by AI. It is the need for wisdom.
Wisdom is the ability to take information and apply the qualities of sound judgment, solid values, and human conscience to practical application. Anyone can gain knowledge; but not everyone can apply wisdom to that knowledge.
If life and business were a courtroom, knowledge would be evidence. Wisdom would be the judge and jury who express the ability to listen to the cases presented, weigh the evidence, and determine the actions that should be taken based on foundational laws.
This is the leader’s responsibility in business. As the head of business, a leader must be the head of wisdom.
You have likely heard it said, “He knows a lot about the company, but he is horrible at leading people.”
Or, “She is good at researching but then puts her team on a very tight deadline to make up for lost time.”
These are knowledge leaders.
Wise leaders read, ask questions, and otherwise learn all they can about a company; but they also understand that, without people (clients/customers and those who serve them), there is no company. They do their homework and thorough research so as to have the basis for decision making; but they apply wisdom by taking action based on discernment, sound judgment, and core values.
The question is: Are you a knowledge leader or a wisdom leader?
It is an important distinction because the leader sets the example for his or her team. One will lead a team of followers; the other will create a team of leaders.
A knowledge leader learns. A wise leader teaches.
Many business leaders carry their business around in their heads. Essentially, in order to do anything, the team must wait for instructions. A wise leader, however, will provide training opportunities in order to help team members grow to a point where they don’t need instruction.
A knowledge leader gathers information. A wise leader shares.
In the course of business, a leader gathers a great deal of information – about the company, its competitors, the market, and its customer base. They know what is coming up in terms of goals and initiatives. But often, the employee is left in the dark. This creates mistrust and even resentment. Wise leaders will treat employees as partners in the business, and, as such, will share vision, values, and goals with them early and often. They will also provide regular updates to help guide initiatives.
A knowledge leader talks. A wise leader listens as well.
Communication is a two-way street. A knowledge leader, eager to showcase their expertise, may do all the talking in a meeting. A wise leader will share their knowledge, but also elicit feedback from others. It has been said that “everyone knows something you don’t.” A wise leader will give their team members a chance to showcase their expertise as well. The result: everyone gains wisdom and knowledge from the experience.
A knowledge leader makes swift decisions based on the latest trends or actions of a competitor. A wise leader makes decisions based on facts, broad discernment, and long-range implications.
While there is merit in taking swift action, those actions must be based on sound discernment. It is one thing to know what the trends are and what competitors are doing; it is entirely another to base the actions for your company strictly on that of others. A wise leader will review the facts at hand and discern whether change is merited for their particular business and customers. They will look beyond the immediate action and consider its implications.
For more resources on how you can you can lead your team with wisdom, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.