“It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently,” said Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russian writer and philosopher.
And he was not completely wrong: in life, as well as in the professional sphere, having a smart attitude and an above-average intelligence is no guarantee of success.
The reason? Sometimes the brightest and most gifted people – at least on paper – tend to sabotage themselves with inappropriate behavior from a business point of view, leaving the seat to those who, even if with fewer aces up their sleeves, know which cards to play to make period.
If you too are part of the large group of professionals with great skills, but with little career, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and defuse the attitudes that make you a great follower, but not a cutting edge.
Here are 5 behaviors to avoid to enhance your intelligence and finally get what you deserve.
1. Don’t dodge teamwork
Those who have a brighter intelligence than others have experienced a sense of frustration since childhood of having to adapt to the slow pace of the team, not being able to run to their own speed.
In the classroom, during lessons, or at university, during group work, the smartest individual has always suffered from the boredom of waiting for everyone to understand and preferred to undertake more tasks and tasks in order to finish quickly. without waiting for the team to come up with the solution.
The same feeling recurs in the workplace: the highly intelligent professional suffers from teamwork and prefers to act alone, relying only on his own skills which, for him, are much more effective than those of a team put together.
The same applies to the arduous task of delegating: for a “genius”, especially a perfectionist, it is impossible to entrust others with a task because they would not be able to carry it out at his height. A lack of trust that has its roots in excessive disregard for the abilities of others compared to one’s own.
But there is a solution and must be found: knowing how to work in a team is a fundamental skill for a true leader, as well as appreciating the diversity of opinion and welcoming positively the contribution of others. Work on the innate sense of frustration that assails you every time it comes to collaborating and make an effort to look at reality from new perspectives: by changing your point of view, others will appear as a precious resource and not as a boulder to be dragged along.
2. Don’t be proud
Having high self-esteem is very useful: it strengthens the character, generates courage, increases confidence in one’s actions.
Too much, however, is never wise. The risk is to overestimate oneself and never question oneself, with the consequence that, at the first negative feedback or in front of an even more performing colleague, resilience can fail.
To avoid the risk of wobbling at the first false step, therefore, the perception of oneself must be educated to the sound of feedback and comments of others, of all kinds. Especially if they come from peers even more valid and intelligent. Put aside the fear of confrontation and remember that surrounding yourself with sharp and smart professionals can only increase your skills. As in a virtuous circle, two or more capable colleagues with higher-than-normal cognitive skills feed each other, building strength and growing together.
A tangible improvement that, alone, would be nearly impossible.
3. Keep the craving for novelty in check
Every individual with a marked intelligence often has the same curiosity: the desire to see new things overwhelms him and, at the first slowdown, the craving rises.
No problem – or at least limited impact – for professionals working in creative or innovative sectors, but what about the managerial roles that have to do with routine activities?
It is clear that getting nervous about repetitive tasks is not productive for a leader who works in the administrative or management fields and can actually obstruct growth. Who would ever reward a manager who snorts continuously or dodges activities that don’t stimulate him?
Without considering that, sometimes, specializing in a niche of the sector and repeating the same activities can become a way to become a top expert in your field and profit from well-established tasks and with minimal effort.
Better shake off the anxiety of news and look at the big picture to find the positives: for limited periods of time – a few hours a week – or limitedly to some activities, arm yourself with patience and tolerate boredom, carrying out with enthusiasm even the monotonous tasks, but profitable and functional to the career. How to stimulate yourself? Looking at the revenue generated, in terms of effort and revenues.
In order not to succumb to the weight of boredom, take care to have many external outlets, dedicating time to hobbies and sports, where you can download the irrepressible need for change.
4. Don’t just focus on intelligence
Intelligence is a good basis to start from, but it’s not enough.
In most jobs, having a fresh and supple mind is a valued skill, but that’s not all. To climb professional positions and get a prestigious role, you need a complete profile and, to achieve it, you need many other skills, especially soft.
Empathy, predisposition to teamwork, networking skills – essential for building a network of allies and contacts inside and outside the Company – and negotiation skills, are just some of the essential soft skills for a leader.
It is a pity that sometimes highly intelligent professionals tend to focus only on rational skills, neglecting everything else and considering what is beyond logic a superfluous element.
Why improve your weaknesses, then, when you can count on such a unique and rare asset as an above-average intelligence?
The answer is simple: because to climb the top of the buildings that matter, a leader must demonstrate versatile and broad skills.
How to fill the gaps in critical skills? By focusing on intelligence to quickly learn the missing elements. Leverage your mnemonic and cognitive ability as a champion to quickly learn everything you need, and internalize the soft skills that do not naturally belong to you.
5. Don’t be a slave to reflection
Brilliant yes, but not too analytical and thinking: because over-brooding seriously damages a leader’s health.
As endowed with deep intelligence, have you always been used to reasoning about situations up to dissecting them down to the smallest detail? Rationalization to the extreme does not always pay off: sometimes it is better to overlook or act on instinct, to seize the opportunities dictated by intuition.
First tip: remove negative thinking, with a relaxing activity. When you realize that you have entered a defeatist loop in which meditation is bringing out apocalyptic aspects, stop and devote yourself to relaxing your mind. Go out for a walk or spend a few minutes doing a puzzle. It may sound silly, but pulling the plug and turning off your brain will ease the situation.
Second step: combine the reasoning with experience. It is impossible to know the world only by analyzing it from a glass: go out and test yourself with reality, even daring a little. Learning by doing is sometimes better than just cognitive vision.