The Ideal Team Player - Part 4: Are you Smart?

April 3, 2017

Michael Scott, the primary character in the American version of the hit television series, "The Office" is a perfect example of someone who is generally not very smart. Michael seems to always be saying or doing something that gets him into trouble. He has a hard time responding appropriately to the situations he finds himself in the middle of. Situations humorously escalate because his responses are so over-the-top compared to what most of us will experience.

In her presentation at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit last year, Erin Meyer, a professor at one of the world’s leading business schools, discussed how important it is to learn how to “read the air.” People who are smart are gifted at reading the air. They are quickly able to understand how to appropriately respond to situations and people around them. This skill is great for a team and is another one that can often be taught, regardless of how Michael Scott continued to struggle season after season.

According to Lencioni, smart people have good judgment and intuition and are able to respond to the subtleties of group dynamics and interpersonal communication. Unfortunately, people who are smart are also often able to manipulate people and situations if they struggle with being humble. This can be quite difficult to spot during an interview because smart people understand what an interviewer wants to hear and can be a chameleon.

If you are leading a team, taking the time to ensure you are hiring smart people will be worth it in the end. The most important step you can take is to have multiple people involved in the interview process, leading to open and honest dialogue within the team about the candidate’s potential fit.

As a team member, listening intently to others around you is imperative. Listen not only to the words your team members are saying, but learn to read the non-verbal communication that often accompanies the words. Adjust your behavior and responses as you interact with those around you to fit into the nature of the conversation.

Whatever you do, don’t be a Michael.
Joshua Delph

Supporter. Trainer. Code Writer. Creative Arts Pastor Turned Designer. Husband. Protective Dad of Teenage Daughter. Avid Grass Cutter. Living in the Freedom He Provides.