Why a Smart Boss Isn’t Necessarily a Good Boss
Guest Author JenB
In every workplace, intelligence is valued. Some companies even believe that this is reason enough to promote their staff into leadership positions. However, this strategy might not be the best decision to make, given that intelligence does not automatically equate to having good leadership skills.
In 2015, Business Insider cited a study spearheaded by the College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, which discovered that there is actually a weak link between intelligence and leadership. This does not mean that those who hold leadership positions aren’t intelligent. However, it does mean that being smart is not the be all and end all when it comes to being a good leader.
Certainly, it doesn’t hurt to have a high IQ. In fact, many professionals in leadership positions right now actually have average intelligence – instead they bring a more varied skill set to the table. The aforementioned Business Insider article stated that leaders are perceived to be intelligent by virtue of their positions; although the reality is that they are not as smart as they are thought to be.
Instead of looking exclusively at intelligent people when it comes to handing out coveted promotions, Forbes suggests that what bosses should evaluate is their employees’ personalities, which is a better indication of someone’s leadership skills. The article cited a study by the Carnegie Institute of Technology, which showed that technical knowledge only accounts for 15 percent of financial success. The other 85 percent is comprised of emotional, moral, and body intelligence. Simply put, those who stand a better chance of achieving success are the ones who not only pay attention to other people, but are self-aware. Interestingly enough, part of emotional intelligence is the recognition of one’s own weaknesses. While some leaders may try to present themselves as infallible, the reality is that heads experience struggles in the workplace, and they may not achieve success all the time. Menlo Coaching suggest that leaders should be able to reflect upon both their good and bad experiences in order to lead a team. While their success may indicate their competence in handling the tasks they are given, how they handle their failures show their ability to recover and find solutions, or at least learn from their mistakes. A boss who doesn’t have this skill may end up either foisting all the blame on his/her staff in case of problems, or they may simply commit the same mistakes over and over again because of a lack of capacity to learn from the past.
Certainly, technical skills and knowledge remain important. In fact, The Conversation claims that the world needs intelligent leaders in order to adapt to dynamic situations they may find themselves facing. The amount of knowledge they possess enables them to respond promptly to situations. However, this is only part of the skills they need in order to be effective leaders. Aside from the intelligence mentioned in the article, it also talked about the importance of adaptation. Flexibility allows them to effectively respond to the situations they face, and make quick yet accurate decisions to address problems. At the same time, good leaders also have the ability to visualize how to get his/her team from Point A to Point B, and the capacity to actually make this happen.
The bottom line is, while knowledge is good to have, it is not nearly enough to be a good leader. To become a good leader, professionals need to be able to evaluate their own performance and always look to improve for the good of the team.