Nov 4

It’s Not Easy To Be A Genius…

Florian Suerie
Florian Suerie is a marketing manager interested to learn about the world, trying to figure out more about the masterplan that runs it all.

This is not about me. But about my experience…

Don’t you hate these guys who know everything better than you?

Even worse if they are your boss…

But maybe you should reconsider if „hate“ is really the best attitude to have towards them… Let me try to explain why I think that way…

When I think about the statement above two types of guys come to my mind.

Number one is the guy who knows everything better than you – but does not! In fact he just thinks his ideas are the best but they are not. You know and your colleagues know – just he does not know… Well read the first sentence again and you will see, he is not the person I want to write about – since he does not really know everthing better than you.

So let’s get to number two. The guy (or boss) that really knows everything better. His ideas are better than yours, his logic works on things you give up on – he is just brilliant. And you are not. At least not as brilliant or bright as him. People envy him, are scared to present him their ideas because he will have a better one, people agree to everything he suggests without any doubts and so on…

Well you might think „that is why he is the boss“ and you may be right. But you all know that in a management position you have to do what management is about and do not have too much time to spend for going into many details of everybodies work. So basically you are looking for people who can handle the details better than you could do yourself (or at least have the potential to do so).

So imagine being that person who cannot find anybody like that. Always having a better idea than the people working for you, always knowing a smarter way to solve the problem, always being more expert than your experts.

So what can he do – having the responsibility for both, business success AND the people working for you? Caring for the business you would have to overrule your employees everytime. Caring for your team you would have to sign on some wrong (or at least not perfect) business decisions. So that your team will not be demotivated all the time or always scared of your judgement for their ideas.

You will always have to find a way in the middle. Judging to let the people working for you go their own way to be able to learn, improve and be motivated by your encouragement. Or – on the other hand when it is a crucial decision for your business – interfere in an explaining way that everybody will understand the overruling.

I met both types of managers in my professional career… Working for number two made me change my attitude towards people coming up with new ideas that sometimes I thought were not too good… Think about the harm a not so brilliant idea could do to your business compared to the learnings and the improvement of your team-member and the good that could do to your future business… And then decide…

This helped me a lot so far…

And then again – I am not a genius so this could all be wrong for your type of business or cultural environment…

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 at 21:29 and is filed under Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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  1. panya says:

    Dear Florian,

    It was nice sharing your idea and experiences here. Please keep writing.

    Best regards,

  2. Tobias says:

    Hi Florian,

    congratulations for the well-written article. It’s a bit rough, but I believe that’s a good thing because it leads to others commenting on it. So I hope you don’t mind me posting a rough question …

    How is manager B different from manager A? If he cannot find a better person for handling detailed work or if he believes that agreeing to a suggestion from the team means to sacrifice a good business decision … does that sound like a person who believes his team is not smart enough? Does it sound like a person who believes he actually knows it better? Does it sound like a person who looks at 100 people and only sees those that are not so smart like him? Manager A?

    Anyway, Florian, it’s just a thought. The way manager B is described … it seems to me as if he judges his people from a higher level just like manager A is operating from a higher level. Manager B feels he sometimes needs to “overrule” his colleagues. I’m just thinking, didn’t he make his expectations clear in the first place? And how would honest constructive feedback be de-motivating for the team? Their seems to be a lot of negative emotions involved :-) )) … even “hate”, which is a quite strong feeling.

    As nothing has meaning per se except the meaning we give to it, such strong feelings, negative OR positive, often hint at one’s own shadow. Let’s search our feelings and perceptions …

    Lg, Tobias

  3. Florian says:

    Hi Tobias,
    thank you for your comment. Reading it and then re-reading my article I have to admit that one can interpret it the way you did. I guess that happens sometime when you try to write from an experience you yourself made – but not being a professional writer.

    In fact (meaning in my experience) manager B – the one who really seems to know everything better – was accepted by almost every person in the company as one of the smartest persons they ever met… And not (as you could understand it by reading my article) because he only thought so himself…

    Well anyways I think you have a point there. So let me add another skill that manager Type B may need. Making people not feel minor – I guess that is what you are implying… Another skill that is not easyly found or developed by people of that kind (and I guess thats the point you’re making)… And is’nt that just another thing that makes it hard to be a genius!? ;-) So it all ends up to the basic point I was trying to make…

    Thanks again Tobias for being interested in my article and digging into it so deep!

    Any further comments are highly appreciated – best wishes from Bangkok,

  4. Tobias says:

    Hi Florian,

    yes, that makes a lot of sense for me now. “Making people not feel minor” is perhaps the trait that I missed while reading through your article. Now that I think about it … perhaps this is something that is easy for your manager B. It might not even cost him/her any conscious thought. Easy for him/her to be a genius. Difficult for all others.

    Thank you for your response and have a good time during your sabbatical.

    P.S. I like your writing style more than some “professional”-labeled styles ;-) .

  5. Florian says:

    Hey Tobias,
    thank you for sharing your thoughts and making it easier for everyone (including myself) to understand what I was trying to say! ;-)