How to Lead People Smarter Than You

Am I seriously writing a blog on how to lead smart people? Ha, well I guess I am. Dan Rockwell’s recent post, “What If You’re Not that Smart,” made me think of a fairly common challenge I see on the flip side: leaders who aren’t sure how to lead smart teammates. Some leaders find super smart colleagues intimidating, fearful that if other people find out that the teammate is smarter than their own leader, the leader will lose all authority and respect.

Confident leaders seek out smart teammates because they understand they are an asset, not a threat. So, how do you lead super smart people? Here are six actions: (more…)

I don’t know anyone who’d say they’d want to work for an insecure leader, but how many of us would admit to struggling with our own insecurities…

  • Insecure in our industry knowledge
  • Insecure in our ability to make the sale
  • Insecure in our performance
  • Insecure in our influence (more…)

Here’s a little secret your leader might not want to admit: He deals with doubt. No matter how confident he might seem on the outside, even the most self-assured leaders wrestle with doubt on the inside from time to time. Doubt is a natural characteristic in leadership – and that’s okay. I’d be cautious of any leader who had 100 percent faith in herself and her own abilities.

However, some leaders are plagued by doubt. They are paralyzed by fears and questions of, “What if?” They struggle in making decisions and giving direction. Doubtful leaders slow momentum and discourage their teams.

Do you allow your doubts to overcome you? Here are the most common reasons leaders wrestle with doubt: (more…)

Everyone needs praise and encouragement, some more than others. Yet, occasionally leaders withhold praise from their team members because they’re afraid of the impact their encouraging words will have! (more…)

There are few places riper for productive discussions, contentious debate, smart decisions as well as disastrous ones than around the boardroom table. In my experiences both as a participant and an observer in various boardroom discussions over the years, I’ve identified the five most common characteristics of successful meetings around the boardroom table. (more…)

I’ve noticed something prevalent lately among several confident leaders I know – how they use their tone.

Or more specifically, how they use their tone when they’re stressed or frustrated or just downright angry. Recently a teammate of mine persuaded me to listen to a couple of voicemails I had left on her phone. I was blown away at the difference in my tone based on subject at hand. (more…)

Confidence and competence: both are essential to our success as leaders. A person can be really good at what they do in part because they are so confident in their abilities and in their plan to move forward.

On the other hand, you can take a person who shares the same level of competence – they have the same skills and strengths – but they lack the confidence. This lack of confidence will limit what they accomplish. (more…)

The people that care the most leave first.

This was a key point in Seth Godin’s recent blog post, “You are not the lowest common denominator,” which references the methodical way that companies (technology companies, in particular) eventually, consistently lower their standards in product innovation and service in order to appeal to a broader audience. (more…)

I’d like to introduce today’s guest blogger, my son-in-law Danny McCarthy. He recently graduated from Officer Candidate School and experienced some great leadership opportunities. Of course, I did what any normal mother-in-law would do and asked him to blog about the leadership lessons he learned while there! (more…)

Pride. Some view it as arrogance, while others see it as confidence. Some say it’s a necessary leadership trait, while others believe it’s a characteristic we can all do without.

My question is, “What impact does pride have when it comes to our leadership walk?”

Pride keeps us from being our authentic selves. When we are concerned with projecting or protecting our pride, we put up a barrier between us and others so they can’t get too close or see the real us. Authenticity is one of – if not the – most appealing traits of a leader. Pride prevents us from being authentic, and your team knows when you’re being authentic. (more…)