Blog Archive

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm Not The Smartest Person In The Room...and That's A Good Thing

Written by Ken Bansemer
National Talent Acquisition Leader
Charlotte, NC

In early February, the University of Maryland hosted the President of RSM Business Services, C.E. Andrews as part of their CEO@SMITH speaker series.  The day provided an opportunity for McGladrey to be highly visible at the Robert H. Smith School of Business on the College Park campus.  One highlight of the day was a “fireside chat” with four McGladrey leaders.  Student members from various UMD campus organizations were invited to this session to gain insight into the topic of leadership.  The McGladrey fireside chat panelists were:

C.E. Andrews - president, RSM Business Services
Dara Castle - DC Metro office managing partner
Bill Gorman - Southeast region managing partner
Art Yonowicz - Baltimore lead tax partner
Speaking on the topic of “leadership” is overdone, as insights are often similar.  That said, I found some of the messages shared with the student leaders interesting.  While many leaders can be ego-centric, the concept of “the smartest person in room” was repeatedly raised.  The message was strong leaders often are not the smartest people in the room – they look to surround themselves with others with greater capabilities.  These leaders are more concerned growing and developing others, creating efficiencies, adding value, maximizing talent AND results, not JUST results.  Effective leaders look to develop their successors, so they can focus on the next challenge ahead.   And when surrounded by smart people, leaders look for the quality in those people that makes them smart, so it can be tapped into time-and-time-again so it can improve the team, and add value to an organization.

Other key messages that resonated with me from the discussion were that leaders:

·         have a strong disposition towards Intellectual Curiosity – asking questions (more than one), knowing when to listen, not being afraid to try new things

·         constantly strive to learn –  no matter what level a person achieves in an organization, the learning is life-long

·         have vulnerability and courage – show others they are human; a person with emotions and know what they don’t know and aren’t afraid to admit it

Bottom line - you know you are doing the right thing as a leader when you are being sought after by others. Leadership comes in many dimensions…there is not a one-size-fits-all mold that individuals fit nicely into it.  Rather, we are a collection of the traits we admire in others, and that forms our leadership style.

No comments: