The Power of Wisdom
Wise leaders are powerful leaders. Wise leaders know wisdom shifts the context, the content and relationships. When wisdom is involved, people speak to one another in a different tone. When wisdom is present, people listen – truly listen – to each other.
When wisdom is accessible, people stop talking and listening to be right, to make others wrong or to dominate. They stop defending themselves and their ‘turf,’ allowing people to move forward together into an agreed-upon future.
Wisdom allows a leader to speak and hear beyond the words being spoken. To truly understand where the words are coming from –what’s behind and between the words – what’s in the implicit.
So, from a talent set, the greater your wisdom, the greater the impact. But the price you pay for becoming wiser is steep. In Newtonian physics, two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. In this case, ego and wisdom cannot occupy the same space at the same time — the greater the wisdom, the less present the ego.
An Inside-Out Job
We have to establish that you can’t bring wisdom in from the outside. You can’t teach wisdom. You can’t learn wisdom. Wisdom is not information-based. It is innate. You can, however, tap into the existing wisdom people have and exponentially expand it.
The intention in our Wisdom Councils is to enable leaders to open the channel to their individual and collective wisdom. Wisdom doesn’t require years of experience for attainment and it is not age-related. The widest and most direct channel to access a person’s wisdom is by allowing them to hear wisdom being spoken.
Wisdom is required to understand wisdom. In other words, when wisdom is being spoken, and someone hears it, they are listening from wisdom. And it is through their listening, that their wisdom expands.
“Wisdom of the Ages” is right on the money. Wisdom is eternal and everlasting. What isn’t well-known is that wisdom exists in all of us. Access is the problem, not experience, or even knowledge.
In our work, we’ve found, uncovering one’s wisdom is best accomplished in the “listening.” Because if you hear it, you must have it to hear it. If I talk wisdom, you hear wisdom, you’ve got wisdom – it’s innate, it just needs work.
Listening for Wisdom
It became obvious through my education, training and development in communication and its transmission, along with my client experiences, that listening was far more powerful than speaking.
It turns out that speaking is the listening spoken. In most instances, as people listen, whoever is speaking to them, speaks so they can be understood. Listening shapes speaking. Listening has greater leverage than speaking. It is evident that speaking is listening spoken.
There are many different kinds of listening.
One easily recognizable example of different listening is when two people are listening to the same person – and they hear the speaker's words differently. One listener perhaps has a deep passion, hunger and commitment for what the speaker is addressing. He or she is listening “for” what the speaker has to say.
These “for” people are listening for discovery. They listen for understanding. They listen for what can contribute to their work. They listen for doing their work better. They are engaged.
The other person listening to the speaker is only there for the hors d'oeuvres, drinks and networking connections. He or she listens to the speaker so he can discuss it with others later. The listener listens for data points so he can talk “about” it with others.
These two people are each listening in totally different ways. They don’t even hear the same words and they relate very differently to the speaker. The one who listens “for,” feels connected, and possibly inspired. The one who listens “about” feels distant and indifferent.
If someone has little interest in hearing wisdom, they will not hear it. Wisdom abounds in the universe and is present in all of us. But the barriers to wisdom have been known for hundreds of years, just ask Confucius, Aristotle, Socrates, Nietzsche, Plato, Satre, Descartes, Erhard, Palmer and many others.
Wise leaders know that wisdom lives in listening. Wise leaders learn how to open the listening, so wisdom is heard. Wisdom “opens ears.” The work of our Wisdom Councils is to tune the listening so greater wisdom comes forth and is retained by its council members.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” - Dalai Lama