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“Will people ever be wise enough to refuse to follow bad leaders or to take away the freedom of other people?” – Eleanor Roosevelt (First lady USA 1933-1945)

Being a wise leader does not inherently come to people; their experience, knowledge, integrity, vision, genuineness, everything put together builds and develops them and makes them wise overtime. Wisdom comes to those who allow others to become wiser too. Only when you encourage your fellow mates or employees to share their thoughts and express themselves to a larger audience, you start believing in others capabilities too, rather than just yourself. A wise leader/human intends to eradicate all kinds of jealousy inside him as well as around him. On the other hand, they have come to a stage where they have stopped learning from others. Instead, they are being considered as a resource to learn from.

In today’s dynamic environment where disruptions occur on a regular basis, leaders find it difficult to cope with the changes and have lost their ability to lead wisely. Such uncertainties have paralyzed the leaders, making them uncertain towards the rapid technological changes, demographic changes and trends in consumption. Those who entered the field with a great vision and plan have failed to create their position in the market. It has become difficult for them to operate these companies. Today, all their efforts dwindle upon ensuring their employees to follow ethics and values. It has become a norm for leaders today to possess knowledge along with wisdom. Because, only this will allow them to survive the pressures from the external business environment.


Lack of ethics and values have hit the companies, which is responsible for creating greed, deceit, anger and fraud among the people. Only people with prior experience in this area can do the mending. They become an advisor for the issues related to ethics and compliance. A wave of dynamism has erupted due to the variations in the teaching methodologies in B-schools and offices. This has led to creation of a new class of managers who have failed to understand the compliance and ethical needs of a company. Such managers question uncertainties and lack the wisdom of reacting positively in a situation where an ethically challenged dilemma arises.

In broader terms we can also say that knowledge does not always result in wisdom. This is because of an approach where knowledge is divided into two types, explicit and tacit where managers rely more upon explicit knowledge because it can be easily codified, generalized and measured. It has a much practical approach while making decisions. Relying totally upon explicit knowledge prevents managers to cope with change. For them, every decision that they make has to be supported by analysis and context. In today’s world, it is important for the managers or leaders to make decisions on the basis of the change happening around them and not just insist on the practical changes. They cannot ignore the societal needs and will have to see what is good for them and rightly react upon such situations.

wise leader


Aristotle stated that “intellectual virtue” is a virtue of practical reasoning. He also used the term phronesis to define practical wisdom, which is the Greek word for wisdom or intelligence. Further he drew a distinction between theoretical reason and practical reason. Theoretical reasoning aims at the truth and considers that, which cannot be changed. On the other hand, practical reasoning has a more positive approach towards considering changes and making good choices. Leaders with practical wisdom make decisions that are ethically sound for the organization. Such leaders are believed to earn profits for their company as well as serve the society and strengthen their people’s well being.

Practical wisdom, in today’s day and age is extremely important. But unfortunately, downfall of CEO’s who lacked integrity is not a new phenomenon. One of the most widely reported ethical violations was the downfall of Enron.The concerned authority questioned Kenneth Lay on the company’s accounting practices. He had made few manipulations there and masked the losses which the company had incurred. Many shareholders and the analysts raised multiple questions on this issue. But eventually, the SEC held Kenneth guilty for fraud.

The Satyam computers scandal was reportedly the biggest scandal that had taken place in India. The Indian government heavily penalized Ramalinga Raju for his lack of integrity and values. The government then raised numerous such cases where power and money forced the CEO to take such actions. This made people question their integrity and loyalty. A person should understand that when he/she is given the position to lead a company, he/she should work hard, with all his heart and give in his 100% efforts. Everyone expects the person to run his company with principles and imbibe the same ethics and values into his employees too. It is morally right to say that, no business can run on money and power alone.Business should follow ethics and values and have a proper code of conduct too.


Therefore, it is important to cultivate wisdom into your leaders, so that they are able to maximize their potentials. They should understand and judge appropriately as to what is right for their company. An organisation expects its leaders to have a practical approach towards their decision making along with a sense of integrity.  This helps them in creating a vision for their company’s future and survival in the market.

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