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By understanding the core elements of what constitutes High Performance Leadership at different stages of our careers. In the three-step model we present here, we reflect on the fact that high performance leaders must progress in their mindset as they progress up the corporate ladder in order to succeed.
From Knowledge to Wisdom – Advance into Management
As high performance leaders progress up the corporate ladder, one of the steps they must take is the one from Supervisor to Management. This step also represents the transition from knowledge-based leadership to one that is rooted in wisdom. The move from knowledge to wisdom occurs when one discovers that the more you know the less you actually know. The constant drive to control and know all things as a leader is not possible. As one progresses up the ladder, knowledge has to give way to something else. The complexity of the job is greater, the responsibility is heavier and thus one’s work shifts from base activities to meetings, selective utilization of specific information, and critical thinking. Reliance on knowledge alone during this transition can be a crutch.
People commonly seek out knowledge, but for you to be extraordinary in the workplace, you must offer something more.
The Role of Wisdom
Knowledge helps answer basic sets of answers. But as knowledge begins to accumulate, one must begin to ask in-depth questions about “how the world works” and make philosophical conclusions that helps gain clarity on how to successfully maneuver through life and its challenges. You must seek wisdom.
One definition of wisdom is “the accumulation of experience, translated into insight and applied in such a way as to make life easier for you and others around you.”
Of course wisdom is beneficial for supervisors, but it is at a management level that wisdom really begins to pay off. As you partner knowledge with experience and insight, you come to the realization that the more you know, the less you actually know. This may be difficult to accept at first, but it is okay. It can in fact be freeing. You will never know it all, so you must allow others to know things for you. Train them on what you are looking for, and ensure they can provide the information in a way that is clear and constructive. This will not only help you, but also help them to gain confidence and recognition while becoming useful contributors to the department. A wise manager uses the right information effectively and operates with the goal of efficiency and fully utilized mental capacity.
Modern day managers must operate from a position of wisdom. A manager that relies solely on knowledge, fails to tap into the full potential of the team. The wise manager is prepared to share, coach, and lead the team to thrive in the context of achieving outcomes and goals. He or she will share their wisdom with others and while tapping into the wisdom of others, ultimately creating extraordinary results.