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Bad Habits of Super-smart Leaders: Great intelligence and smartness are essential parts of efficient leadership. There is a relationship between intelligence and leadership; one affects the other. Research has it that a leader’s optimal IQ level depends on the average intelligence of the followers. Generally, intelligence enhances how people acquire skills and expertise, create ideas, solve problems, and perceive smart moves. It is, therefore, no surprise that intelligence has a link to leadership effectiveness.

That leads us to the question many have been asking for a long time. Do intelligent people make better leaders? It looks sensible to assume that intelligent people mean better leadership ability because, on paper, they possess the qualities a leader must have.

Can leaders be too smart?

Can leaders be too smart? A leader is expected to be smart and intelligent in other to lead people. It is possible to have more intelligent people among your followers, which will require smartness to relate with them. The efficiency of a leader can be said to be based on their smartness. A dull person or a person of low intelligence cannot make a good leader. He would be seen as incapable and lacking the qualities to lead. Leaders are expected to be the smartest person in their group, plus some high-level technical expertise.

Leaders can be too smart, which can end in disaster. Leaders work with people with different intelligence levels, which means different levels of conceiving ideas and implementing them. It is best known for its relationship with its followers.

Smartness is a vital ingredient of a great leader, but it requires far more than that. That is where the need for emotional intelligence comes in.

Emotional intelligence and Leadership

Many people have different opinions and ideas of what effective leadership is, but majorly everyone knows who a good leader is. Someone who doesn’t allow his emotions to get the best of him completely has the trust of his followers and seeks for the best of the followers and the group altogether. Emotional intelligence is as important as normal intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability of a leader to understand and manage their emotions, tasks, relationships, and those around them. The intelligent leader needs emotional intelligence to know what they are feeling, what their emotions mean and how it affects others. Not only do people need expertise and conceptual knowledge on how to carry out their work, but they also need someone who understands them.

Having a high emotional intelligence is important for success. We all know who is more likely to succeed a leader that stays in control of situations and a leader that shouts at his followers at every wrong.

Bad Habits of Super-smart Leaders

Elements of Emotional Intelligence

Here we are talking about Elements of Emotional Intelligence:

1. Self-awareness

A formidable element of emotional intelligence is being self-aware. If you are self-aware, you will know how to feel and how your actions and emotions affect people around you. Self-awareness can also mean behaving with humility and identifying your strengths and weaknesses. A self-aware leader puts himself in the position of his followers and understands how they would react to decisions. To improve your self-awareness, keep journals and don’t act in haste. Slow down to examine the situation again when you experience anger or other high emotions.

2. Self-regulation

Leaders need emotional intelligence to regulate themselves. Those leaders rarely attack others or make hasty decisions that might cause irreversible damage. Self-regulation is all about staying in control of yourself and personal accountability. Such leaders don’t make emotional decisions, compromise their values, or stereotype people. You can improve your self-regulatory ability by being calm, holding yourself accountable, not others, and finally, knowing your values and holding on to them.

3. Motivation

Leaders that are self-motivated consistently work toward achieving their goals. They have high standards for the quality of the work they do. Self-motivated leaders are not bothered by what people say or what circumstances are. They generate motivation out of their passion for the things they do. There are ways by which you can improve your motivation. They are:

Check what you are doing: Are you happy about the work you do? Check and re-examine what you do. There is a popular saying that “If you do what you love, you will not struggle to work any day”. There is a motivation that comes with the satisfaction of doing what you want. If you find yourself in a role that you are struggling with, take some time to remind yourself why you wanted the role initially.

Be hopeful and positive: Motivation can also come when you are being hopeful and positive about situations. Optimistic leaders are usually motivated leaders. Adopting a positive mindset will help when faced with challenges.

You can also check out our other related article Bringing Your Best Self to Work:

4. Empathy

Having empathy is important in managing a successful team or organization. Empathic leaders possess the ability to put themselves in other people’s situations. They give constructive criticism, listen to others and challenge people who are acting wrong. One of the best ways to earn respect and loyalty from your followers is to have empathy.

5. Social Skills

Leaders exhibit high emotional intelligence in their social skills and maintain great communication. They are good at lifting emotions, resolving conflicts, and managing change. Leaders who have great social skills also exhibit it by praising followers who have done well and also encouraging others to do their best.

Bad Habits of Super-smart Leaders

Bad Habits of Super-smart Leaders

Some challenges come with having extreme intelligence or being too smart. People can score well based on the standard intellectual intelligence but fail in their relationships with people. In most cases, super-smart leaders don’t make good leaders. The reasons are stated below:

1. Expecting their followers to be as smart as them

Many times, super-smart leaders find it difficult to understand how people struggle to get things. They believe understanding and assimilation levels are the same thing. This is a mistake because we are different, and the truth is not everyone gets things easily. As a leader, you are in that role as the head, and you are expected to be smarter than others in the group. Leaders can get easily frustrated when they expect their followers to be as smart as them.

2. Trying to control everything

Super-smart people often think they can control everything, but it’s impossible. Things get out of hand or do not come as anticipated; failure is part of life. Super-smart leaders do not accept failure as an option. They believe you are bound to get good results once you do things the right way.

3. Not asking for help

Super-smart leaders rarely ask for help. They believe they have all it takes to succeed. It is easy to adopt the idea of “doing it myself,” which is not bad. When it becomes extreme that you think you do not need any help, it is bad. Asking for help only connects you with the right and needed resources. Some super-smart leaders experience insecurity and would not want people to know that they also need help. Asking for help doesn’t only show that you are open and humble. It shows that you are authentic.

4. Pushing too hard

Good leaders know when to push and when to stop. Some super-smart leaders do not embrace changes and are one-directional. Many of them do not understand when to push and when to rest. They do not believe in failure, so they push too hard, which makes them lose resources. As a smart and intelligent leader, I work with the currents of life and swim with the tides.

5. Waiting until something is perfect

Nobody is 100% ready or perfect when opportunities arise. Super-smart leaders are mostly perfectionists, making them miss out on opportunities when they spend much time perfecting a task.

6. Thinking they know all

Have you ever related to people who think they know all? Such people do not welcome other people’s ideas. Adopting other people’s opinions is a better way of living our lives and moving forward. New wisdom and information cannot be cultivated when you think you know all.

Bad Habits of Super-smart Leaders

How to overcome bad habits as super-smart leaders

1.       Use your strengths to overcome your weaknesses.

2.       Be compassionate about your relationship with people.

3.       Be open to working with people who could be smarter than you.

4.       Appreciate changes and be flexible.

5.       Consider when tactics other than thinking can bring about success.

Frequently Asked Question

Here are some important Frequently Asked Questions:

Can super-smart people be wrong about things?

Yes, one of the problems of super-smart people is not accepting that they could be wrong.

Do super-smart leaders make the best leaders?

People expect intelligent and smart people to be better leaders, but it doesn’t work that way. A leader’s success can be measured by the success of their team and how they carry their followers.

How do I know when I am too smart?

You can know that you are too smart when you find it difficult to relate to people.

A leader’s goal is to inspire greatness in his followers and achieve overall success. Acting too smart will not make your followers like you. 

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