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Wisdom, intelligence and creativity: the recipe for successful leadership

Michael Kidner, Flowers Gallery

In his 'Leading Edge' column on Forbes.com, Sangeeth Varghese discusses the 'WICS' model for creating leaders with its developer, Robert Jeffrey Sternberg.

Sternberg is a psychologist and psychometrician, known for his work in the fields of human intelligence, creativity, thinking styles and leadership.

Varghese, who says he has a deep admiration for Sternberg's work, explains WICS in a distillation of a recent conversation with the psychologist.

WICS stands for 'wisdom, intelligence, creativity synthesized'. The basic premise of the model is that leadership is not something people are born with and is not inherited. According to Sternberg, leadership is something one decides to do – a decision that builds on a combination, or synthesis, of wisdom, intelligence and creativity.

Here is a brief explanation of the individual elements of WICS:

  • Wisdom. This relates to the positive use of knowledge and skills. Wisdom helps you integrate the other aspects of WICS.
  • Intelligence. Successfully applied, intelligence will help you attain your goals by capitalizing on your strengths and overcoming weaknesses or compensating for them.
  • Creativity. This is the ability to come up with ideas and then use the necessary analytical ability to judge whether they are good ideas. Sometimes this means going against the crowd.

Good leadership requires knowledge and ability, but attitude is every bit as important, if not more so. The manner in which you approach problems and the attitude you have towards dealing with them are equally as important as an ability to actually solve them.

Leadership Is Something You Decide To Do
Sangeeth Varghese