Are You the Smartest Person on the Team?

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Are you the smartest person on the team?

I hope you said no. But, if you look at your whole team and say to yourself, “I really am smarter than all the rest of them,” then maybe you need to find another job.

In a large organization I led my secretary, Cheryl, was the simply awesome. She always seemed to have a good idea or the answer to some question, and seemed to have a sense of when I needed a little nudge. Cheryl was a key part of my success, and really the success of the whole organization. One day she stepped into my office and said. “You’re a really intelligent person. I think you should join Mensa. Do you know what Mensa is?”

Not sure where she was going with this, I warily said I did know what Mensa was and asked, “What are the requirements to join?”

She replied that I needed a certain score on an IQ test and to be recommended by a current member.”
Then she said, “And I’d be happy to recommend you.”

I guess she saw something in the way I was interacting with my teams that made her think I needed one of her little nudges.

It’s very easy, especially as you rise to higher leadership positions to start to believe you are in that position because of your superior knowledge or intelligence. That can quickly become, “I’m the smart one here so everyone just needs to listen to me.”

And that’s exactly what your team will do. They will listen to you and provide no input. They will not offer their own ideas. They will let you charge forward and make a fool of yourself even if they know you are on the wrong track.

No matter how much you may think you have it all figured out, someone on your team is likely to have a better idea, or see a potential problem you did not consider.

The best approach you can take is to ask more than you tell. Keep you team engaged in the issues and they will provide the best possible counsel. You will make better decisions and your team will be more efficient, effective, and productive.

There’s a lot more great content at dleadershipgroup.com. 

For short video leadership tips go to Bob’s YouTube channel. 

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