• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Wisdom: A critical ingredient for leadership

The leadership transitions: From peer to leader (4)

Human beings are more emotional beings than rational beings. They are moved much more by emotions such as fear, love, faith, empathy, worry, and many others. This emotional nature makes them more difficult to manage than machines. Machines are operated based on manuals, instructions, or sometimes by the press of a button. This is not so for human beings. Humans’s ability to think and rationalise events leads to their resistance to instructions or their desire to question procedures or processes. These are the reasons why managing human beings requires a lot of perception and tact, especially from the position of the leader.

Wisdom is an essential element in the management of human beings. Wisdom is the rightful application of knowledge and experience acquired. The first point to note is that to apply wisdom, knowledge is a required ingredient. When you combine this with the experience gathered over the years, it puts you in a vantage position. The knowledge of the team to be managed, the knowledge of the ability of each member of the team, and the understanding of the peculiarities of each individual in the team, including the capacity of each member as well as the potential of everyone, are all important factors in the effective management of a team. You must also not forget the knowledge of the environment.

On the issue of the environment, I have seen corporations in Africa with subsidiaries in different countries having a different approach to the management of the team in each country. Even within West Africa, there are ways you approach your team members in one country, and that same approach will not deliver results in another West African country. This shows you the importance of knowledge of the environment. As a leader who wants to succeed, you need a thorough knowledge of the above, for it is the application of this understanding that will determine your actions and inactions.

When you have an understanding of the capabilities of each of your team members, you will know the kind of assignment you will assign to each one, and you will limit your expectations based on each one’s ability to deliver results. Remember that a 1 KW generator cannot deliver a 7 KW output. You must place everyone within the ambit of the assignment that demands his capacity. Your understanding of the peculiarities of individuals in your team will determine your management style. There are individuals that will only perform optimally under a Theory X approach to management, while others are best managed with a Theory Y approach. It takes knowledge to know the right approach to use as it relates to everyone.

Wisdom was the hallmark of Solomon, and in his 40 years of reign, he never went to war. During the reign of his father, he fought war throughout, though he never lost a battle. Similarly, as soon as Solomon died, there was a resumption of war between the houses of Rehoboam and Jeroboam. The record has it that they fought battles all through their days (1 Kings 14:30). Wisdom is essential for averting a crisis in your team. If there are always crises amongst your team members, you need to apply more wisdom.

As a second example of the impact of wisdom in averting crisis, Joshua was a man who took over the leadership of the children of Israel as Moses was about to depart. The record shows the children of Israel listened to him all through his days. (Deuteronomy 34:9). Unlike their usual attitude of rebellion, they were cooperative with Joshua.

With wisdom, you can ensure the smooth running of your team, community, or social group. Wisdom enables you to know when to speak and when to keep quiet. There are times, as a leader, when silence is your best weapon. You need wisdom to succeed as a leader. Wisdom gives you insight into what others do not see. It helps you optimise the potential of each of your team members. Wisdom enables you to reflect before making decisions. Wisdom makes you get enough information about a subject matter and ensures the use of that information for decision-making. Wisdom makes you perceptive and tactful in your leadership assignments.

Oluwole Dada is the Head of Sales and Marketing at SecureID Limited. He can be reached on www.oluwoledada.com