Wisdom. The most under-appreciated intangible of today. The most valuable asset in every portfolio. The key to perpetual success. Wisdom.
I believe wisdom comes only two ways:
God can impart wisdom to anyone at anytime. But most of the time He just sends it to us through individuals who have gained it through experience! Far more efficient, don’t you think?
But I’m not here to talk about how you acquire wisdom through divine connection. That’s a completely different blog and, frankly, a different line of work! I want to talk about wisdom by way of experience. They say:
Experience is the best teacher.
And I could not agree more! There’s nothing like rolling up your sleeves, getting in there, and seeing what things are like first hand. Making mistakes, creating wins, and getting better along the way.
But here’s the question of the day, hopefully to get your wheels turning. Who ever said the experience that teaches you has to be yours? Here’s how I define wisdom.
Wisdom is lessons learned from prior experience, yours or someone else’s.
Would you rather make a mistake and spend valuable time recovering or avoid a mistake by taking heed to the wisdom shared by a predecessor? Given that we Millennials have the reputation of lacking patience, I’m going to safely assume you’d prefer the latter. So herein lies our lesson and a key strategy for success as we grow into our careers and lives—seek and leverage the wisdom at your disposal.
Don’t be a know it all. Frankly, while you might know a lot, you really know nothing at all. Take the time to sit and glean insight from people who have walked the path you are just beginning on. Albeit with different, much older shoes (i.e. resources), the reality is these people have years of wisdom to share simply through their time spent, or experience, on the path. They can tell you what bumps to look out for, how to handle the curves that are sure to come, and when the best times for the necessary pit stops are. They can tell you the best shoes and where to get them. Think of them almost as a road map.
These people can be bosses, more experienced peers, mentors, senior leaders or, get this, even subordinates or those who hold lower ranked positions than you. You don’t truly understand the value of wisdom if you cannot accept the last mentioned source. Sometimes those we lead can have the most wisdom to offer us but because we’re so busy trying to prove we deserve the position we already have, we lack the humility to seek, thus the opportunity to leverage.
Gleaning wisdom from team members is a win-win for many reasons.
It brings down relational barriers and establishes rapport between you, as the leader, and your team members.
It makes team members feel more valuable, thus more motivated.
It gives you access to knowledge that would have otherwise taken years to accumulate.
It’s truly a no-brainer, when you go about it the right way. There’s a necessary balance too strike. While you don’t want to act as if you know everything, you also don’t want to depend solely on the wisdom available within your team members. After all, you are the leader for a reason. Take the initiative to find wisdom from multiple sources, making sure one of them is your team. And remember, YOU have to go seek in order to leverage. Don’t expect people to just willingly give you wisdom. Be intentional, be strategic and go find it.
Corporate Millennial Coach