There sure is a lot of stuff out there about leadership: lots of models, theories, theses, training courses, and so forth. At the end of the day, though, it does boil down to some pretty basic principles—principles that could likely be extracted out of just about every great leadership story or framework in existence.
According to psychologist Robert Jeffrey Sternberg, the basic principles are wisdom, intelligence, and creativity. Moreover, all three require both skill and attitude, with attitude possibly edging out skill in terms of importance.
This Forbes article provides a concise synopsis of Sternberg’s framework. What was most interesting to me, and the part where I would be most interested in delving deeper, was the wisdom part.
When you hear the word “wisdom,” you tend to think of Yoda from “Star Wars” or Mr. Miyagi from “The Karate Kid.” You certainly do not immediately think of the business world or the hospitality industry. Yet what Sternberg describes as wisdom is the ability to balance one’s own interests with the interest of other people and of higher-order things.
This definition of wisdom seems incredibly fitting to hospitality, where the experience of other people (the guest) and community involvement and integration (community being a higher-order thing) are of utmost importance. Perhaps wisdom is a word we need to use more often.