If you’re the smartest person in the room you’re likely in the wrong room. If you’re always the smartest person in the room you’ve got a big problem.
Smart people work hard to make certain they invest their time with people smarter than they are. They also know that there are a whole lot of people smarter than they are.
You may be the smartest person in a particular topic but that doesn’t mean you can’t still learn from other people.
If you ever actually are the smartest person in the room then you had better find a different room or fill the room you have with smarter people. But it’s highly unlikely you’re really the smartest person in the room. Believing you are is a problem, it’s a problem because more than anything else that arrogance is an attitude issue.
Believing you’re always the smartest person in the room is reflected in how you speak with, or more likely speak, at people. What you say will often come out with a level of snark that everyone notices … well, everyone except you.
Believing you’re the smartest person in the room also affects how effectively you listen. Actually, it completely prevents you from doing anything that remotely resembles active listening. You may think you’re fooling people into thinking you’re listening but you are not.
If you’re a leader with the smartest person attitude you have an even bigger problem. The most effective leaders interact with their people in a way that makes their people feel as if they are the smartest people in the room. The least effective leaders interact in a way that leaves no doubt they believe their people are less intelligent than they are. That’s no way to help people grow.
You can’t grow, professionally or personally, without people in your life who are smarter than you at times. Once you find those people listen to them, watch them and always be open minded about what they say and do.
It may not make you the smartest person in the room but I’ll guarantee it will make you smarter.