Smartest in the Room

Smartest in the room

In my early career as a leader I was taught one of my most important lessons:

‘Never assume you’re the smartest person in the room!’

At the time, having just graduated and still carrying an overweight ego, I didn’t really take on board the power of this statement.

Years later, in becoming a senior leader myself I realised that this statement carries a depth beyond the nine words.

What it reveals is that the process of leadership is often more important than the content. The process of leadership is fundamentally about drawing out and amplifying the best contribution of others.

As leaders, in amongst the noise of day-to-day activities, it’s easy for the voices of our team to be lost, especially when we’re under pressure and needing quick solutions to challenges where the path through isn’t clear.

The process of leadership, is about taking the time to ask first before trying to prove you know the answer. Simple questions like:

What’s your thoughts?
What can we do to solve this?

provide powerful prompts to find the best person in the room to solve that issue in that moment.

With this method, through using the process of leadership, the content and solutions take care of themselves. And more importantly, you begin to unlock the full potential of those around you.

Something to consider:

What big issues are you facing at the moment?
Who else can you get involved to help you find the solution?

Something to try

Next time you’ve got an issue to solve, try bringing a few people together and asking them what’s the best ideas they have.

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