» Leadership – Inside and Outside the Organization

Last month, NewYork Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote about rewarding Wall Street high fliers who not only contribute little social value, but who actually engage in activities which are harmful to the common good.

Two activities Krugman addressed were Goldman Sachs’ practice of high-speed trading (the use of superfast computers to buy or sell stocks a fraction of a second before anyone else can react), and oil and other commodity speculation by an arm of Citicorp. These two practices actually make everyone else poorer — poorer because the high-speed trading decreases profit possibilities for those who lack such technology, creating negative wealth for the majority, and the oil and commodities speculation has lead to soaring incomes in the financial industry, resulting in sharply rising income inequality.

Krugman argues for a broad range of financial practice regulations. He concludes his column with the statement, “Neither the administration, nor our political system in general, is ready to face up to the fact that we’ve become a society in which the big bucks go to bad actors, a society that lavishly rewards those who make us poorer.”

Reading Krugman’s piece, I began to ponder the definition of leadership. A great deal is written about leadership, yet much of it is vague, generalized, and based on opinion rather than on research. One of my favorite definitions is provided by the scholar, practitioner, and now academic administrator at Yale University, Robert Sternberg. Sternberg’s definition is concise, clear, and makes eminent sense for those who take the time to reflect on it.

This broad and encompassing definition? WICS. It’s an acronym for wisdom, intelligence and creativity, synthesized. I’ll get into a bit more detail about how Sternberg interprets the attributes of wisdom, intelligence, and creativity in future blogs.