By Michael Holland     

When you happen upon a wise leader you’ll notice something very interesting.  They ponder.  They take a moment to dive into a pool of thought as they consider a decision, a course of action or a way in which to act.

The pondering may be just a second or two, or the pondering could be 10 minutes as the wise leader facilitates a team through a series of thought provoking questions.  The wise leader is seeking the wisest path forward.  Wise leaders look though their history, they inventory the current circumstance in which they find themselves and they layer in their vision for the future to determine the wise course of action to take.

Wise leaders look though their history, they inventory the current circumstance in which they find themselves and they layer in their vision for the future to determine the wise course of action to take.

Wisdom is gained through time and a willingness to want to be a good leader.  Unfortunately, not all leaders can or want to become wise leaders.  Beware of these types of unwise leaders.

  • Simple Leaders – Simple leaders lack experience so they don’t know the right and wrong ways to lead.  They know not what to do in situations because they haven’t lived through the situation previously, they haven’t been trained up and/or don’t have a guide to coach them up to see the situation for what it is.  Often simple leaders are just early in their season of professional life.
  • Foolish Leaders – Foolish leaders know the difference between the right way and wrong way to lead but just don’t care.  They have the experience and training to know the wise way to lead but are just too lazy, uncourageous, disengaged, self-absorbed to care to invest the energy and time to lead well.  And further, they are arrogant in their comments and tone of voice to those who are bringing the light of day to their inadequacy in leading wisely.  Their typical answer:  I don’t care, I know the right way but just don’t want to lead that way.  Leave me alone to lead how I want to lead.
  • Mocking Leaders – Mocking leaders not only know the difference between the right and wrong ways to lead but are also critical of those leaders who choose the right and wise way to lead.  These leaders scoff at other leaders who are trying to lead wisely.  Mocking leaders seize upon opportunities to humiliate those leaders who take time to worry about how best to engage employees.  Mocking leaders laugh at leaders who “waste” time meeting with employees in one-one meetings and ridicule those leaders who make wise, ethical decisions.

Leaders have the opportunity every day to choose how they will lead.  That choice can be most difficult for leaders who have created years upon years of bad habits and a cynical perspective of the role of a leader.  If you’re a young simple leader, choose well to gain the knowledge to be in a position to make wise leadership decisions and more importantly, align yourself with wise leaders while running far away from the foolish and mocking leaders.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • If you could go back in time to visit yourself as a younger leader, what advice would you give to yourself?
  • Have you worked for a mocking leader or been around a mocking leader?  What did that feel like?  Describe the culture of the team or organization?
  • Over the next 2 days ask yourself this question at every opportunity:  given my past knowledge, my current circumstances and my vision for the future, what is the wise way to lead or wise decision to make?
  • What is one habit you would like to change in order to help you become a wiser leader?