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Let’s Go There: Are you Smart or Effective?

  • By Black Life Coaches
  • /
  • September 24, 2014
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By Alonzo Kelly

More often than not, employees engage in a contest of determining who the smartest person in the room is.  This is a silly game when you consider the prize for winning such a contest includes being the last person picked for group activities, an omission from after work activities intended to enhance team building, a constant greeting of rolled eyes from peers, and a grand prize of a pink slip!

One of the most common mistakes people make is thinking that being smart and being intelligent mean the same thing.  The definition of smart is having the ability to be quick witted or quick to thought.  It is also associated with being bright.  Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.  Certainly there is no problem with being labeled smart or intelligent, unless of course you do not capitalize on your ability and are deemed to have wasted your potential.  Effective however, means to be successful in producing a desired or intended result.  The definitions of being smart and being intelligent speak to ability.  The definition of being effective means to actually produce.  On Sunday afternoons during the football game, which players are you cheering the loudest for, the smart players or the effective players?

So what’s wrong with being smart?

There is nothing wrong with being smart.  There are a few dangers in actively competing in the game of being considered the smartest person in the room however.  For instance;

  1. Smart people are easy to spot.  They tend to be the loudest during discussion, come across as arrogant, and can be misjudged as bullies.
  2. Smart people always have something to say.  They respond to ideas with phrases like, ‘I already knew that’, ‘Great idea, but…’, or ‘This would be perfect if you had only…’  This may explain why smart people are the last to hear a great idea!
  3. Smart people are driven by fear.  They fear failure, losing their reputation, or having others have a different opinion of them than they have for themselves.  They do everything they can to control what others think of them which require being seen and heard as much as possible.
  4. Smart people get fired first.  When a company eliminates thousands of employees at once, do you think they’re keeping the smart people or the effective people?

I would challenge you to focus more on building a brand of getting things done rather than accumulating degrees on the wall.  Having others brand you as being the smartest person in the room also comes with higher scrutiny and more pressure to deliver.  Be sure to use your acquired knowledge to get things done rather than to boast.

Let others be busy about competing for the title of being the smartest.  You stay busy about getting things done!

 alonzo kelly (1)

Alonzo Kelly, is a member of BlackLifeCoaches.net and founder of the Kelly Leadership Group, LLC. 

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