How Smart People Trip Themselves Up
By Sandy Schroeder
We all know someone who is amazing but not always successful in their endeavors at work. Sometimes everything works perfectly, but other times, not so much. If you can relate to the problem, you may be looking for answers too.
Hbr.org gives us some interesting thoughts on this situation. It says incredibly bright and talented people sometimes subtly undermine themselves.
Here are some ways this happens, along with suggestions for solutions.
Smart people focus too much on brain power - They skip right over the people skills like relationship building that is always needed in the workplace. They spend little time working on their people skills and then wonder why some of their projects flounder.
The answer - Take the time to fill in the people skill gaps, and then actually practice them, which may make a surprising difference.
It is tempting to avoid dealing with weakness - When everything has always been easy and intellect is a given, it can be hard to step back and acknowledge other weaknesses.
The answer - Gravitate to people who are trusted and want the best for you. Invite their criticism. Gradually, it will be easier to see weaknesses and rewarding to generate new results.
Only difficult things are interesting - Someone who understands everything very quickly may also get bored easily. Once they have figured out a problem, they are eager to move on to the next challenge, which can be a problem when most people around them are moving at a slower pace.
The answer - Take a moment to help others figure out the situation. Teaching others can be a way to move beyond the boredom and increase group success. Having a list of backup distractions can help, too. Working ahead to develop plans for the next project, or developing Plan B options can fill the time as everyone catches up.
Teamwork is a puzzle - When teams work well each person contributes his best effort and the whole group is stronger. People who are above average may fail to look closely at the many things that go into making a group strong. Beyond intellectual strength, sensitivity to others, positive attitudes, calmness, reliability and resilience can all play into the group mix.
The answer - Look at the group very closely to really see what makes it tick. Then try to imitate all of those qualities.
If these quick glimpses of workplace ups and downs help you sort through your own efforts, keep right on going. Most of us can learn new things every day if we are really open to new ideas.
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