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Never Be the Smartest Person in the Room

“Try to never be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people, or find a different room” – Michael Dell, Founder and CEO of Dell Technologies.

What!? You thought you had to be the smartest person to be the boss. Not so!

Successful leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Steve Jobs surrounded themselves with people who had many opposing ideas.

  1. Remain humble. Give credit to others and never throw anyone “under the bus.”

  2. There’s no way you can have all of the answers in today’s fast-paced ever-changing business environment. So admit it and brainstorm together to work the problem.

  3. Know your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re unsure of those, start a journal to reflect on each day. Even consider doing a strengths assessment.

  4. Grow and learn together with those around you by accepting and trying others’ ideas.

Amazing things will happen when you appreciate and acknowledge team members who are smarter than you. When you have to deal with a truly big, hairy problem, you have a team of people to resolve the situation.

Then, when you’re ready to continue to grow in your career, you can move on and you have people to replace you. That enables you to take on the world!

Here's another perspective from CNBC's Make It "I would never hire the smartest person in the room."


Start out 2020 with a workshop for your leaders! Try Approach Upper Management With Confidence or Give Feedback That Gets Results Email or call Margie Adams at 303-809-8093.

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