Patty Azarello (@PattyAzarello) has been offering top-flight Business Leadership Advice about growing businesses and people in guest posts on Liz Strauss’ (@LizStrauss) Successful Outstanding Bloggers Blog. Liz is described as “perhaps the most influential non-celebrity blogger on the Internet”.
I recommend following BOTH of these really sharp women and the bloggers Liz discovers who write guest posts on Successful-Blog. We all benefit from following Liz’ lead as she discovers top blogging talent.
I am blessed to have crossed paths with Liz many years ago and have been proudly displaying her SOB Badge for years now. Liz is a top Success Coach and CEO and Founder of SOBCon.
Patty’s post today is for people who are highly intelligent who may be challenged in the people skills department. As sometimes happens, my comment in her post turned into this post because I believe people need to listen to the messages she is sharing them and I would like to offer a few more insights.
Some people are brilliant and can pick up most anything quickly – but since experience IS very important – brilliance is usually specialized. You may be one of the top experts in your field but you are NOT an expert on everything. It makes sense to find out what others around specialize in and tap their knowledge. As the saying goes,
“The wise man learns more from the fool
than the fool learns from the wise man.”
That means being wise enough to LISTEN even to fools because anyone may have an insight that will prove valuable.
What the least tolerant people need is a lesson in humility. I bet there is someone in some field you could NOT easily follow. That is YOU among others. Often they are NOT as stupid as you think they are – YOU are just really poor at teaching and communicating.
Here is a true life story that illustrates why it is important to recognize when others are exceptional in OTHER subjects even if they seem slow to you about YOURS.
IBM introduced a very bad process called PBC360 that has the other people you work with evaluate your work. (Bad because positive input doesn’t help you and negative input is another excuse to pay you less, demote you or “down-size” you.)
I worked with a Sales Manager who was a brilliant programmer – he could code in hours what took good programmers days to do. He was very quick but he knew he was far more intelligent than anyone around him and looked down on everyone else.
One day I overheard him bragging that he had single-handedly caused a fellow employee to get the first bad appraisal of his career thanks the PBC360 and his intolerance. WHY? Because the other man was simply not good at sales. What is sad is that he was the best Systems Analyst bar none I had EVER worked with and THAT was HIS brilliant niche.
IBM had foolishly tried to get brilliant technical people to sell and sales people to do technical things which is a major mistake. They are totally different aptitudes and few excel at both – Sales Manager being one of those few. (Corporations do the same thing routinely using a Management track that moves people between field and corporate office positions that ends up leaving people in the positions they are WORST at – unless they are wise enough to ask to step back one.)
Overhearing what I said about Sales Manager turned out to be what he needed to finally be promoted – a reality check. I remarked to a fellow Computer Tech that it was unprofessional of him to reveal that a fellow-employee had received a bad appraisal and to brag about being the cause showed him to be intolerant and not wise at all.
I continued, Since HE is the brilliant one, he should know better than to treat others so badly and then brag about it (which confirmed what everyone already knew – what a pompous you know what he was).
He should have recognized the company was failing and not that employee because that System Analyst was extremely talented at analysis but not good at sales. It was HIS FAULT as a Manager that he had inappropriately assigned the wrong duties to the right person – not the fault of the person who was struggling to do a job he was ill-suited for while his many talents at what he was best suited (in the entire region) to do were wasted!
I did not know he heard my comments until later, but apparently they changed Sales Manager. He started treating people with the respect they deserved. Instead of looking for what they were NOT good at he started focusing on what they did well. Within a few months he finally got promoted because his people skills had improved so much.
Each of us has specialized knowledge. We are experts at
some things but we are NOT experts at EVERYTHING.
I especially want to encourage my readers to not put those you admire on a different level than you. Respect their talents and knowledge but know that even those who are mentors also HAVE mentors to learn new skills faster.
I commented in Patty’s previous post on the importance of finding mentors because I want to encourage everyone to ASK those they admire if they can mentor you. They are NOT “above you” or “better” than you – they are just people who have more experience at something you’re interested in than you do.
The people you admire have mentors too – others
who have more experience than them in OTHER things.
If someone can not mentor you, ask them if they can recommend anyone else who might have more time or be more interested in mentoring. (Not everyone who can DO can TEACH and not everyone can make the time to assist you right that minute.)
I find that the most brilliant people that I go out of my way to seek out and offer mentoring often have poor self esteem because they were never ordinary enough to fit in. The more brilliant they are the more they usually believe there is something wrong with them because they aren’t average. I seek them out to tell them they are gifted and invite them to collaborate with me.
If you’re concerned about being rejected, look for those like me who continually invite interaction. Read how people talk to others and avoid those who are mean and contact those who are consistently sweet. IMHO, the best mentors are kind – not ego-maniacs driven to succeed by walking all over others.
If any of this sounds like you please contact me. I know many people who can assist you for free. For fastest results consider hiring a coach like Liz (this is her blog) or Patty (who wrote this post) or Donna Fontenot or AskKim. Choose the one who fits you best and has an opening – they will all be very busy because they’re worth it.
I now feed content from all three of these blogs into my Twitter accounts and recommend that other influencers who have followers interested in what they write use my TwitterFeed process to do the same. (You can use any tool that feeds RSS content to Twitter using the explanation in that post).
Bloggers: please consider pro-actively growing your online influence because you are part of the solution that will create a better world for all and improve our standard of living as the dollar continues to slide. Start by implementing Twitter Best Practices and DO connect with me on Skype, Yahoo Messenger or Twitter. Connect with the other bloggers listed in my Small Business Advice BizSugar post.