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Great leaders are like excellent chefs. A little bit of this, a pinch of that; a touch of this, a whole lot of that, then… great things happen!

When leadership is at its most effective and impressive, it is because of the element of wisdom. Evangelist Doug Klinedinst said, “The thing that makes wisdom wise, is that it works.” An action or decision on the part of a leader may seem simple, insignificant, or counter intuitive – but if it works, it’s wisdom at work. Consider these aspects of wise leadership:

  • Intuitive- the leader feels in his gut he is doing the right thing.
  • Informed- she gathers information, asks questions, restates, and clarifies, until she is satisfied.
  • Instructive- he communicates, educates, informs, and trains his team in the vision, preparing them for what it will take to win the prize.
  • Infused- with enthusiasm, she sells the vision until the vision belongs to everyone involved, and as one, the team acts and accomplishes what the leader has set out before them.

Watch wisdom work- and understand that you can lead with wisdom as well. Five elements are definable in wise leadership:

  • Principle- The bedrock of leadership is in the principles that are espoused and expressed. Predetermined principles used in decision making ensure long-term effectiveness.
  • Process- Ron Edmondson described one process he uses in his church as “A paradigm by which to apply wisdom to a situation.” Whether clearly defined or evident only to keen observers, process is present in wise leadership.
  • Passion- I’m tired of dispassionate discourse, and ready for a passionate course. Passion is the drive to act when the talk is exhausted. It is consuming and contagious. Passion drives a leader to action and inspires others to follow. It is essential to leadership.
  • Perspective- raises the sights of others to see beyond the immediate and into the infinite. The Apollo 11 mission, and the steps of Neil Armstrong, gave perspective to our existence and impact here on Earth. Leaders provide perspective, especially in tough times.
  • Personal Accountability- leaders need a perspective on themselves. An extra pair of eyes, two listening ears, and a multitude of wise words from a trusted and respected other, keep the wise leader grounded as a leader and a person.

As a leader in your sphere, do you acknowledge and appreciate wisdom in leadership around you? In a word, what would define a shift toward wisdom in life and leadership for you?

Photo 2012 by Glen Gaugh

Glen Gaugh
Glen is a social worker and supervisor for Youth Villages Specialized Crisis Services in West Tennessee. He leads professionals and volunteers to help families be their best. Connect with Glen on Twitter and Facebook.
Glen Gaugh