If You Aren’t Dumb You’re Stupid
Fearful leaders keep people in their place with fear.
Fear leads with fear.
On the other hand, confident leaders build self-confident followers.
Build-up others – ask for advice.
Most leaders say they believe in hiring people smarter than they are. Well, if they’re so smart, why aren’t you seeking their advice?
Hiring people that is smarter than you is
means you is dumber than they is.
If they’re smarter than you, tap their expertise. What do you call someone who doesn’t listen to smart people?
Who’s the smartest:
Weak, arrogant, know-it-all leaders need to be the smartest, they can’t seek advice.
Leaders who don’t seek advice fear looking dumb or believe they already know. In both cases, it’s arrogance not intelligence.
Arrogance pushes others down, something wise leaders avoid.
It’s not how smart you are
but how smart you can help them become.
Make others powerful by making them advisers. Stop seeing yourself as the adviser, receive advice instead. Ask:
- What options do we have?
- How would you handle this?
- What dangers are we facing?
- What’s the next step?
- What happens if we fail?
- Who is essential for success?
- What relationships fuel forward movment?
Leaders who don’t have all the answers
are smarter than those who do.
The up-side of asking for advice:
- Humility – yours
- Elevation – theirs.
- Options and ideas.
Dumb or stupid:
You, like everyone else on the team, excel in certain areas. Hopefully, your area is leadership. Wise leaders believe answers are found by working with others, seeking advice.
Being dumb makes you smart.
Be the dumbest person in the room, at least in some areas, or you’re stupid. The need to be the smartest person in the room, means people tell you what you want to hear, that’s dumb.
How can leaders build-up others?
What are the dangers of being an advice-seeking leader?
When leaders are willing to admit that they don’t know everything and that they are learners too, people will not be reluctant to open up and share their expertise. Smart leaders are listeners and learners. I love Peter Senge’s quote, “The more you learn, the more acutely aware you become of your ignorance.” No matter how smart and knowledgeable we are, we are always ignorant about something. We need to always be open to learning from and with others. Great post as always, Dan.
Thanks Tagrid. Great seeing you.
You highlight one of the things I wanted to bring to our minds… People open up to people who don’t know it all. 🙂
Love the Senge quote.
Well for me, think I get what you are saying. Just the words for me are a little different.
My belief has recently changed from like you say, Hire folks smarter to you to Hire people who Believe what you Believe.
If you believe in humility, having an open mind, working smart, constant and never ending improvement and serving others as you want them to serve you……..if you Believe THOSE things and you hire a person who shares those beliefs can you imagine how well you would work with them and they you?
Now suppose we go with smarter and dumber. You can work with a dummy or a genius but if they believe money is all that matters, other people are only there to find a way to manipulate money out of them, people are there to pay me no matter how I treat them……Can you imagine or see CLEARLY building a working trusting relationship with them is just not gonna happen.
If you are not working with people who believe what you believe, well just say good luck with that. For me too, I work with people who do believe what I believe and it is AWFUL. Just not on the same page kind of a thing. You all know what I am talking about. I suggest buying a hard-hat cause you are gonna be banging your head against the wall a lot.
When you work with a symbiotic believer you both have the belief working things out is the way things ought to work. Both are working for the SAME thing and working together to find the how to get it done.
As far as dumb goes, the way it works with me is Openminded or Closeminded. For me Closeminded is DUMB an Openminded SMART!
Look, you will get results in life with an open mind and a closed one. Just like having an experience jumping out of a plane. You will have an experience by jumping with no parachute and an experience with having a parachute and opening up.
All I am trying to say is choosing the opening parachute option is likely to have you have a much more pleasurable experience.
Don’t think one has to be THAT smart to get that example clearly, right?
So I say be the most openminded person in the room and spend time discovering what the others you work with believe. Then just Flourish together. Stuggling is optional.
Want to see an example of what I am talking about for FREE? Go to YouTube and watch Bob Chapman tell you all about PeopleCentric Leadership and how they practice it at Barry-Wehmiller. Just google TedTalk Bob Chapman. FREE!!!!!!!!
What IF? What if you do google this and learn something that will have great value to you? Any of you have ANY idea how books I have read and tapes I have listened to that have been a complete waste of time? LOTS! Every now and then though I run across life changing words and ideas. This Bob Champman and what they are doing at this company is one of those rare discoveries.
I believe if you find something SPECTACULAR it is not a choice to share it is an obligation. That is why I am sharing.
One other thing, a Closeminded person would offer an opinion without watching Bob’s talk. A Openminded person would know they MIGHT learn something they did not know before and take 20 minutes to watch Bob and THEN offer their opinion.
Just my opinion of smart and dumb. Just sharing what inspires me in the hope it inspires others.
Meant to say I work with some people who do not believe what I believe and it is awful.
Love your framing of “dumb” as a good thing. Even when we understand intellectually that it’s a good thing to involve others and to ask for advice, we can be influenced by unconscious messages from childhood that it’s not good to be “dumb.” Almost all of us either experienced or witnessed someone being ridiculed for being dumb. Your reframing of “dumb” helps to confront these unconscious beliefs. Very helpful. Thanks, Dan!
Arrogance is not inelegance and stupidity is not disability
Leadership is taking advice at every step from your team or employees. It can improve the working environment and enhance success
Great thoughts, Dan. Our traditional understanding of obtained knowledge and wisdom is often tainted by preconceived notions about WHEN people are eligible to contribute. We can’t let age get in the way of getting good, solid feedback and advice.
All three of my closest “sub-ordinates” (as the organization chart calls them) are way smarter than me in the area of expertise that we are meant to lead the company in. I view my role not so much as a “know-it-all” but as a “know-who-knows” resource.
We have very open and direct communication lines and never hesitate to point people, even C-suite execs, directly to the person with the real expertise. When I say, “take that question to Tony” rather than asking Tony myself and making the C-suite think I personally came up with the answer, two things happen. 1) Tony feels elevated and takes pride in making sure he finds the best possible solution, and 2) we avoid any misunderstandings, time delays or other potential communications breakdowns that would be bad for everyone.
What do I get out of it? All kinds of things. I have motivated team members always trying to excel because they know what they are doing is being listened to at the top of the company. (They know this because they are in direct communication with them) I also get the recognition of leading a division that is competent, swift, accurate and above all contributes very directly to the progress of the company in a very supportive and well received manner. To sum it up in one word: Respect.
The company respects my team, my department and me, not because I am dumb, but because I have team members that are way smarter than me!
My first mangement assignment and lesson I was taught this from a very smart man coming out of the Marriott Executive group. He always said ‘surround yourself with people smarter than yourself.’
First reading of the headline sounds insulting. Through reading is uplifting. That is why the 95% never will be leaders. They don’t go past surface or feelings.
The original title was If you aren’t dumb you’re Dense… just didn’t have the punch… 🙂 Cheers
The is a good advice for leaders because always trying to be the smartest in the room or with your subordinates is not a good thing. Most of the time when you inform your subordinates that you don’t know everything, they would be ready to share with you some life time experiences or better ideas that are beneficiary . When you always act like you are the smartest, people would say things that you want to hear not what they think. Being dumb in some areas is not a bad thing because that is how you would learn and be meticulous in areas that you are not an expert.
I’ve never put it in such terms, bu I have always sought the input of my subordinates, students, children… and so on. As a professor, I told my (grateful) students that I abhorred lecturing, because when one lectures the audience hears the thoughts of only ONE person. No matter how brilliant that one person is, the group will gain so much more if they ALL contribute to a discussion on a topic. Of course, my college students tended to not do the assigned reading before our discussions, so… pop-quiz time!