OK, you’re a smart person. Really smart. Earlier, during your education and your career, your “smarts” were both reinforced and rewarded. Good for you! You’ve done well.

There is a pattern of behaviors for people like you (smart and successful) that you should be aware of: you may be adding too much value by overusing your smarts. Being smart has served you well, so why not? As uber-coach Marshall Goldsmith said, “It is  extremely difficult for smart successful people to listen to other people tell them something they already know without communicating some how that (a) they already know it and (b) they know a better way.”

Almost ALL ideas can be improved upon. So what? Imagine for a moment that a subordinate brings you an idea and you feel compelled to add your “better way” to it. Your better way probably adds a few percentage points of improvement, but the subordinate’s commitment to execute the idea may have dropped by half. Why? It’s now YOUR idea.

You have the power of position. You’re likely to have a certain intensity, drive or ambition about you. We’ve already established that you’re very smart. These factors easily combine into “intelligent, intense intimidation.” Probably not what you intended.

The lingua franca of leadership today is not IQ, it is how well you deal with relationships.  Effective, genuine relationships lubricate the discourse of business, lower “transaction” costs, and increase connections to help give voice, meaning and acceptance to what it is that you bring to the table.

I’m not suggesting that anyone act dumb for others. Just be thoughtful in your communications.

In Other Words…

“Being smart as a whip includes knowing when not to crack it.” ― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous. Everything else is crap! I promise you! It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. Be smart, be thoughtful, and be generous.” ― Ashton Kutcher

“I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.” ― Abraham Lincoln

“Smart means having intellectual humility rather than high cognitive ability.” ― Tara Estacaan

“[D]on’t be so smart that you act stupid.” ― Dana Alison Levy, The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher

In The Word…

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works …” – Hebrews 10:24