Intelligent Ain’t Always Smart (part 2 of 2)

By Tom Davidson

This blog is for intelligent people who want to be smarter. You can do that in one of three ways!

While we’d all like to be smart and intelligent, we’re usually more one than the other. But we really need to be both. 

Intelligent people tend to be better strategic thinkers but have a hard time getting things done. Whereas smart people tend to be realistic and action oriented, but might not see the big picture sufficiently.

This blog is for intelligent people who want to be smarter. You can do that in one of three ways: 

– Street Smarter– Street-smart people have had the experience and not missed the meaning (T.S. Eliot). They put themselves in stretch assignments to learn by doing, and they file their experiences away in a growing toolkit that they can draw on for life. To be more street smart, get more experiences – and learn from them.

Read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck and choose her “learning mindset.”

– People Smarter– People-smart people have sensibilities when it comes to reading others, showing empathy, and listening. They notice small nuances in their interactions, anticipate unintended human consequences, and demonstrate to their followers that they care. To be more people smart, get regular and formal feedback and study all you can about emotional intelligence.

Read Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Bradberry, Greaves and Parks.
– Humble Smarter – Humble-smart people have failed, made mistakes or derailed in some way. The opposite of Trophy Kids (see The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workplace by Ron Alsop), humble-smart people have taken some hard knocks, and, most importantly, were humbled by them. They respect other people’s opinions because they know they don’t have all the answers, and they’re open to feedback because they know they have blind spots.

Just to be on the safe side, read, The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t by Robert Sutton.

Want to be a leader that people want to follow? Tone down your intelligence and tune up your smarts with these perspectives and resources.

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