What is the problem with smart people
There’s nothing worse than working with fools, is there? When hiring new employees, it is logical to pay attention to smart people — it seems that it will be easier to work with them, because they know a lot and understand everything. However, this is not always the case: in some cases, too smart an employee does more harm than good, says Sidney Finkelstein, author of the BBC article “The problem with smart people”.
This article will be useful for startups, HR managers, and those geniuses who would like to learn that they also have weaknesses.
To make sure that intellectuals are able to ruin a good cause, it is worth remembering the fate of the American energy Corporation Enron, about which few people now remember.
One of the world’s leading companies, founded in 1985, engaged in power generation, gas transportation, gas supply, communications, and pulp and paper production, and traded securities.
“America’s most innovative company,” according to the Fortune magazine, went completely broke in 2001 — and just because of its innovation. Enron was run by the brightest heads in the United States, but despite their high intelligence, these managers were too arrogant and unsure of themselves to allow anyone to control their activities. Because of their risky decisions, the company lost billions and closed as a result.
Of course, it all depends on what position you are hiring a valuable employee for. Analyst, researcher, programmer-if the representatives of these professions do not differ in mind, the company will most likely not last long. But these people work on their own, they do not need to enter into close relationships with colleagues, they can independently do their work. So let them do it well.
Loss of control
Smart people think they know everything better than others. Maybe it is. But the problem is that they believe that everyone else should take everything they say for granted, simply because they are smarter.
A person who is sure of his own rightness ceases to hear others, he does not allow the idea that a different point of view has a right to exist at all. Because of this, they take a lot of time to get others to do as they say, and the tension and discontent in the team only increases.
Maybe this is good for a brilliant doctor or a highly functional sociopathic detective, at least, even if they are only characters in TV series, such as Dr. house or Sherlock. But think about it, would you like to work under the guidance of guys with this character? Every day? For what?
There is nothing worse than a project Manager who has several employees working on it as equals, an arrogant smart guy who doesn’t spend time explaining why you need to do it this way and not otherwise, and is able to fail all the work. In this case, it is worth explaining to him that it is pointless to put pressure on colleagues with intelligence, it is much easier to reach an elementary agreement.
Surprisingly, sometimes geniuses become disgusting managers. This is the easiest way to verify the example of some athletes. Some make excellent coaches (such as Zinedine Zidane), while others are ugly, because a genius often lacks the patience to train those who do not have such outstanding abilities as his. Canadian hockey player Wayne Gretzky, American basketball player Michael Jordan, who showed brilliant results in the game, both coaches and managers did not take place.
Another thing that smart people should not be allowed to do is choose a product that is worth putting on the market.
Here we should give an example of a story that happened to the company Creative Technology, based in Singapore. When Apple first introduced its iPod, the Singapore-based company had already released a great MP3, technically much more advanced than the American giant’s tablet.
However, customers preferred (and still prefer) Apple products. How can they make such an irrational choice, it would seem?
However, the perfection of technology does not provide an absolute advantage. And the smartest people don’t always understand what the consumer needs. Because it needs more than just a good product. He needs your love. Which is expressed, for example, in the ability to quickly get advice from the service center, and not in the speed at which the device works.
Zappos, the largest online Shoe store in the United States, encourages its employees who spend a lot of time answering customer questions, rather than trying to get rid of them quickly: attentive, who approach their customers with a soul (even if not really), provide the retailer with an endless stream of customers.
However, people who are superior in intellectual development of others often do not have the intelligence to understand that if you quickly get rid of the customer and move on to communicate with the next one, it will not work.
The problem is that the smart guy is focused on improving the technology and rarely thinks about the consumer’s feelings. Which, by the way, may be sillier than it is, which is why it needs simpler applications, accessible language, and ease of use of the product.
Even here, arrogance does not benefit the intellectual: considering himself above others and trying to “educate” the consumer, he misses the fact that the buyer votes with the ruble, and the attempt to pull himself up to a higher level may not be appreciated at all.
The media can weep as much as they want about the fact that the reader clicks only on texts about sex and violence. Coffee roasters can endlessly scold those who are interested in coffee only milk and caramel syrup, and not the refined origin of the grains. Haute cuisine chefs have the right to scoff at those who do not appreciate onion ashes and choose a simple borscht or a boring mozzarella salad.
However, managers should keep in mind that hiring an employee with high intelligence is an idea that sometimes sounds better in theory than it does in practice.
1. Before hiring an intellectual, make sure that he respects the opinions of others.
2. Any product that you produce should be liked not only by smart people from your company, but also by ordinary consumers.
3. Intellectuals work best in areas that are not related to working with people.