Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to Assess and Develop Wise Leaders

Wisdom has to do with the soundness of judgment!

Due to the increasing rate of change and over-complex business dynamic, organizations are desperately hunting for wise leaders. How can one individual with raw intelligence accumulates knowledge and learn so that wisdom develops? If an organization is looking for wise leaders, how would they be able to choose? How can you build a structure, mechanism, evaluation or any kind of process that you would trust and believe it will draw out a wise leader? And how to continually develop more wise leaders in the organization or the business ecosystem?

To be wise is not to know particular facts, but to know without excessive confidence or excessive cautiousness. Wisdom is something we have by concentrating an appropriate share of our efforts in understanding what we don’t know about a situation and keeping this in balance with working out what we do know. To be wise is not to know particular facts, but to know without excessive confidence or excessive cautiousness. Wisdom cannot be forced either by accumulating knowledge or guessing. Forcing wisdom commonly leads to dogmatic thinking, ideology, prejudice, and cognitive dissonance. If there is a teachable path to wisdom, it may be to learn Critical Thinking methods which require the person acknowledge their own biases and prejudices before considering the information, but even Critical Thinking is not a sure path to wisdom. Experience is not a guaranteed source either. Nor is the almost mystical references to intuition. Forming habits is certainly a good idea, but habits are as often unwise as wise.

Knowledge and understanding orbit around wisdom. While wisdom may be defined as the way of handling uncertainty, a great deal of work has been about being knowledgeable and understanding the context in order to make a sound judgment. If you analyze understanding, you will find that it exists in two words. Under and Stand. Its origin is from a practical idea in masonry where the mason after finishing the first floor stands under the structure and decides if the structure is strong or has enough grip for additional floors. Perhaps a qualitative design perspective evolves knowledge such as:
-rich factual knowledge: general and specific knowledge about life and its variations
-procedural knowledge: general and specific knowledge about strategies of judgment and advice concerning matters of life
- span contextualism: knowledge about the contexts of life and their temporal (developmental) relationships
-knowledge about differences in values, goals, and priorities
-knowledge about the relative indeterminacy and unpredictability of life and ways to manage.

Wisdom has something to do with contextualism and relativism: Contextualism implies an ability in the manager to make decisions in the context of the workplace environment. Balance in a given context is not a fixed point which is right, and all others are wrong, but some appropriate range in the continuum between extreme positions. Relativism implies an ability to balance other parts of the equation. An example might be that having considered the labor element to be the highest priority, the manager must now wisely choose from the list of other priorities to bring the organization into the required balance, say reduced R&D budget. As with context, relativity concerns itself with balances.

Learning Systems Thinking does make a leader wiser: Uncertainty acknowledges that one can never know everything about a problem or an individual’s life. The manager is required to look beyond what might be the known facts to consider what is not known about the situation, as well as what is not known about the known facts. This is most likely the area needing the greatest attention in management development. A wise leader would be labeled as such based on
-the knowledge/insight/skills/capability/ actions/results (the past )
- the level of understanding of the current leader "assessor" of performance and potential (the present )
- the relevance of the past and present for the future desired transformation or outcome.

Wisdom has to do with the soundness of judgment: Many people do wrong things, not because of ignorance, but because of poor judgment, due to the lack of comprehensive knowledge, bias, or preconceived notions. So a wise leader can make sound judgment in decision making, leverage Systems principles in problem-solving, and they can strike the right balance of confidence and humility, creativity and standardization, management and governance, local and global, and they are the ones never stop learning. Practice leads to Mastery which leads to Wisdom which leads to more practice and more mastery...


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