Are you too smart for your own good—and the good of the organization?

August 16, 2011

Intelligence, for leaders, can be more of an impediment than an asset. It’s an asset if you use it to elevate others. It’s an impediment if you assume that it authorizes you to make as many decisions as you can. In other words, you might be too smart for your own good.

If you’re the smartest person in the room (or think that you are), you may get impatient with coworkers trying to keep up with you. Impatience leads to anger and righteousness—and that leads to more anger and impatience. Instead of giving your coworkers more time to meet your expectations, you might give them less.

If you’re intolerant of others’ level of intelligence or pace of learning, how tolerant do you think they ought to be of you? No matter how smart you are or how good your ideas, if you’re a dominating, impatient, and intolerant leader, you will have trouble gathering support. Your window for moving the organization forward won’t last long.

Are you using your intelligence to build support and raise the effectiveness of others? Or are you letting anger and impatience get the better of you?

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