Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Leading Clever People

One of my favorite leadership titles of the past decade is "Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?" by Gareth Jones and Rob Goffee. They are at it again with "Clever – leading your smartest, most creative people" being published later this year.

I saw Stefan Stern's column about the book in the FT, (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/643a8cec-4914-11de-9e19-00144feabdc0.html), and it got me thinking of my own list of challenges related to leading clever people:

1. They are not easily-controlled because they don't fear for their job -- they know they have talent that others will want or they can embark on their own.

2. They will only want to work on the most important, invigorating projects, often with no respect for turf or boundaries. This can drive corporate managers crazy.

3. They have a lot of influence, so it is important to keep them engaged, as others will follow their lead.

4. A real challenge is helping them see that they are not more important than the organization or the team. An expectation will have to be created that they use their impressive skill sets in service of the whole, not themselves.

Do you lead clever people? If so, what has worked for you?

1 comment:

  1. Clever people are truly a challange to lead because you have to be at the top of our game to do so. However, the challange is a welcomed one for those leaders who truly enjoy learning and growing. Leaders should be thankful for clever people because ultimately, they make better leaders.