Smartest Person in the Room

Leadership Coaching with Mel Brown

I recently read a sign that said, “If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.” I stopped and pondered that for a few minutes. I found that it resonated with me and I immediately thought “that has the makings of a good topic for Contemplation Corner.”

While I wanted to give credit for the source of my inspiration, my research revealed that the quote has been attributed to a number of people. However, the lack of someone to whom I could attribute the quote did not dampen my enthusiasm to explore with you in writing why you should not be the smartest person in the room.

While being the smartest in the room may certainly be good for a person’s ego and perhaps their self-esteem, when you are the smartest person in the room there are some negative consequences as well. When you are the smartest person in the room four things happen:

1. Everyone looks to you for the answer,
2. You frequently end up with the hard jobs,
3. You limit your access to learning experiences, and
4. You limit your leadership accomplishments.

Now, let’s explore those four concepts.

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