Why Smart Leaders Do Stupid Things

No one gets up thinking, “I want to do something incredibly stupid today.” Choices seem smart until they end up harmful.

Only a knuckle head shows up thinking, “How can I suck the life out of my team?”

You intend to motivate your team, for example, but instead they’re discouraged.

You intended to strengthen relationships, but instead they’re strained.

if you're the smartest person in the room you're confused.jpg

We’ve all tried to do good and fallen short.

Unless you’re seriously broken, you intend to help others and yourself. We realize – after the fact – that what seemed helpful was actually harmful.

No one intentionally chooses failure.

Irrelevant rules HAD good reasons.

Rules are designed to facilitate, protect, or enhance success.

Caution seems smart. But over-caution is stupid, especially in turbulent environments.

Failure to evaluate policies and procedures results in time-wasting resource-squandering behaviors.

Have a meeting to eliminate unnecessary and antiquated rules.

  • What are we doing that wastes time?
  • What rules/procedures are no longer relevant?

Smart is situation specific.

You end up stupid when you don’t adapt to changing situations.

Smart is time specific.

What was smart yesterday may end up stupid tomorrow.

Smart leaders grow dumb.

When you believe something is true – when it isn’t – you end up doing dumb things.

The chair at the head of the table doesn’t increase your IQ. It may make you dumb.

Good intentions seem smart at the start. But good intentions don’t erase over-confidence and closed minds.

Better to think you’re stupid when you’re smart than to think you’re smart when you’re stupid.

  • What if you don’t know as much as you think?
  • What if someone is right?

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re confused. No one is always the smartest person in the room.

What stupid things do smart leaders do/believe?

What do smart leaders habitually do?

Added reading:

A saboteur lurks on the over-cautious side. (Simple Sabotage)

The World’s 19 Most Disappointing Leaders (Fortune)

3 Habits of Exceptionally Stupid Leaders (Inc)