There are three pillars that are central to leadership, which are knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Without these pillars it is difficult for any leader to succeed. Leadership is all about awareness, understanding and the ability to judge correctly.

Much of leadership failure is a result of people acting without understanding exactly what they want. The outcome is not clear and activities are derived out of fear of idleness rather than the pursuit of something noble. Some of it is a result of people acting on the basic knowledge they have as facts are not enough. Such issues result in some areas being overlooked, overestimated or underestimated. This results in errors in action, which affects results. You realise that there are so many blind spots that have left vacuums and gaps that inevitably become sources of weakness and demise. This is understanding. When understanding is there, there is the need for wisdom. The efficiency of judgment and the interpretation of the reality are indicative of wisdom.

Let us just explore these three pillars of a leader and see how they can help us be effective as leaders everywhere.

Pillar 1: Knowledge

Knowledge is key in leadership. A leader without knowledge is bound to fail. A leader is one who knows the way, talks the way, shows the way and walks the way.

People search for meaning in leadership and a leader without the awareness of what it takes for the organisation to succeed seldom makes it.

A leader should have industry awareness, human awareness, political environment awareness, trade awareness, international trends awareness, personal awareness, and market awareness among other areas.

  • How can you direct when you do not know. How can you advise when you do not know?
  • How do you mentor when you do not know? How do you supervise when you do not know?
  • How do you reprimand when you do not know? How do you reward and praise when you do not know?
  • How do you measure progress when you do not know what it looks like? How are you going to know you have arrived when you do not know?

It is key for you as a leader to broaden your awareness, to challenge yourself to read more, to seek more advice, to seek mentorship some more. Knowledge is key. A leader without knowledge is like a dam without water.

Pillar 2: Understanding

Many people know a lot but they do not understand. They cannot interpret or analyse the realities facing them. They do not know the implication of the various things around them. You may know about a new legal instrument passed in Parliament, but if you do not understand how it is going to affect your business then you lack understanding.

  • Do you find meaning in your knowledge? Are you able to decipher what the trends in the market mean to your company or as a politician?
  • Do you understand the implications of all these grouping being formed in the world?
  • What do they mean to the balance of power and the world economy and your country’s economy?

Understanding helps you to find meaning in your knowledge. It helps you to add and come up with an answer. Without understanding, knowledge is useless.

Pillar 3: Wisdom

Now that you understand, what is the next stage? Many people know and understand but their actions are poor. It’s like the issue of Aids, many know it’s there, many understand how its spread, how it affects people and yet continue practicing risky behaviour.

This is lack of wisdom. This, however, does not meaning that all those that are infected got it due to risky behaviour but this is true in the majority of cases. Some of them are doctors, some nurses, some peer counsellor who teach you how to use protection in sexual liaisons and five minutes later engage in such acts without the same protection, what folly!

Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge. Wisdom is key in leadership the same way as life in general. Wisdom is key in judgment and decision-making. Without wisdom, many people end up in difficult situations and being forced to accept realities they never wanted. Be wise, judge correctly and you will be an effective leader.

Hope you were inspired and are going to base your leadership on these three pillars. You will never go wrong. Become the best leader you know. Stay inspired. Be the best. Just be the best!