The truth behind being smart is—there’s always going to be someone much smarter than you. So, how do you deal with braniacs when you’re asked to manage them? It definitely isn’t an easy thing to do. They can be ruthless if they sniff out your low IQ—and you don’t want that to happen.
Here are a few tips to help you govern people who are intellectually superior to you.
1 – Be the Guide
When your team is working on a project, there will often be a clash of priorities. As the manager, your point-of-view will differ from theirs. In such cases, don’t bark out orders to get your priorities sorted. Instead, take the time to sit down with them, compare the urgencies of your ideas and theirs, and then agree on one. Once they’ve understood why your priorities are more important than theirs, give them the freedom to figure out the solution without any assistance,
2 – Question Every Aspect
Asking questions while they work can be distressing. Let them be. Give them time to solve the problem and once they’re done, question them on all grounds. You must ask them what they devised, the approach, the inputs, the possible outcomes, requirements, disadvantages, and basically all aspects affecting quality. You will gradually educate yourself in their subject as you keep questioning, and spot faults or potential improvements in their approach.
3 – Introduce Them
Get them acquainted with senior officials no matter how experienced they are. This will steepen their learning curve, and also help in refining the product they’re developing, even if you lack the necessary knowledge.
4 – Resolve To Evolve
Discussions usually follow when smart people flock. Every genius has his/her own approach to a problem, and such approaches are weighed against each other. This is productive, as the best methods are often chosen from the lot. However, ego’s frequently engulf such healthy debates, turning them ugly. This is where you step in! Your job is to ensure discussions don’t end
in ego-clashes, and even if they do, resolve them discreetly. If you don’t know what the heck they’re fighting over, don’t be afraid to step in and find out.
5 – Keep Your Standards
You might weep when I say that you must continue hiring and/or managing smarter people than you, but maintaining the quality of talented staff is your responsibility. Although mixing up experienced pros with newbies might be a good idea, hiring smarter people must always be your priority. Only good things will come your way if you are well-known for appointing and managing geniuses!
6 – Weed Them Out
The level of professionalism in you is reflected by the work done by your team. If a rookie gets added to your team there will be a lot of complaints. Some might want to change teams to avoid inexperienced co-workers, and there will be others who just want to move on because they don’t fancy you. Transfer requests can be detrimental to your rep as manager, so you must address the issue by consoling the movers, and accommodating the newbies elsewhere. How you’re going to do it is totally up to you, but make sure that your aces don’t place requests to swap teams. An accumulation of learners can frustrate the experienced, pushing them to move on to other groups.
It’s a risky business, i know. Managing a rare breed of thinkers can be stressful, especially if you know that you’re not at their level. But keep a calm demeanour, get your poker face on, and let them know that you too know what they know even if you don’t.
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