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Never Act Like the Smartest Guy in the Room


Jul. 26, 2012 Forbes

Don’t show others that you are the smartest person in the room.

That is advice that many executives impart to their brightest up and comers. While it may be obvious, when you are bright – and able to connect dots to points that no one else can see – it’s pretty tempting to strut your own stuff. The problem is that it can be obnoxious.

Pace yourself. It is no use telling a super-bright person to start acting dumb – though I have heard such nonsense. What I can advise is to find the right moment to speak up. When discussions hit a stall point, offer suggestions. If others are intrigued, proceed. If people turn away, wait for another time.

Share your ideas with others. Organizations love team players but not all teammates are created equal. Find people you can trust and share your ideas with them. Allow them to introduce them at meetings. Yes, in the short run others will get the credit but in time people will know it is you who are offering solutions that others can use.

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