Six smart ways to become a wise leader

See the world differently by developing a flexible, resilient mindset that will help you to become a wise leader. We give you six ways of reaching that goal.

Leaders tend to look at the world through coloured lenses that change or limit their perspective, which affects their decisions and actions. Some have a perspective which is narrowly focused on short-term goals, deepening their depth of knowledge in their domain of interest. Other clever leaders are guided by broadly focused long-term visions that help them to differentiate various patterns and see how these will help them succeed. Both perspectives are limiting.

Your leadership perspective is based on the sum total of your knowledge and experiences, and the choices you have made. It defines you, shaping your thoughts, decisions and actions. It represents the way you see yourself and situations, how you judge the relative importance of things, and how you establish a meaningful relationship with others and everything around you.

When you remove those lenses, you can gain a broader perspective. By changing your perspective and cultivating practical wisdom instead, you can lay the foundation for a wiser, more effective leadership style.

What is a wise leader perspective? Wise leaders are able to continually reframe and reinterpret events through integration and to find new meanings within a rapidly changing context. Guided by a noble purpose, you develop a flexible and resilient mindset that helps you act and lead with wisdom and become a more influential leader.

To move from a ‘smart leader perspective’ to a ‘wise leader perspective’, start by seeing the world differently. Here are six ways to do it:

1. Become aware of your limitations, and transcend them.

What is your biggest limitation of today? How did you get to have it and how do you plan to transcend it?

2. Learn from desperation, and spark epiphanies.

Desperation can spark epiphanies, so pay attention to what your next crisis has to teach you about perspective. What is the fear that you are attempting to run away from? How do you pay attention to it so that you can walk through the other side of desperation and discover something very new?

3. Act on inspiration from talks or books.

When did you last get inspired by a talk or a book? What actions did you take?

4. Take an extreme turn – out of your comfort zone. 

Getting outside your comfort zone is a quick way to experience leadership from a new perspective. Where is it that you are holding on to an old and unworkable mindset? What extreme step you can take to experience and lead yourself differently?

5. Ditch your old glasses and look through fresh eyes.

Sometimes, shifting one’s perspective is as simple as really seeing what’s in front of you. What do you need to “unlearn and let go of” so that increased focus on what you have could make you very effective and successful?

6. Pursue unlikely connections and look for odd juxtapositions.

What unlikely metaphors and connections can help you come up with an innovative mental model and a business model for your work?

Thanks to Prasad Kaipa and Navi Radjou, co-authors of a book From Smart to Wise: Acting and Leading with Wisdom. Find out more on their website

Give us a ring on 01865 881056 or email us at info@leaderslab.co.uk if you’d like to discuss any of the issues raised here.