Monday, December 11, 2017

Smartest person in the room? Not by a long shot.

I met with a small group of IDC officers some years back and one of my fellow Captains wanted to make sure all of us understood he was the smartest guy in the room.  It wasn't a declarative verbal statement. But, you readily understood his intent. He professed his sincere apologies for arriving late to our meeting.  It wasn't long before he made it known that his schedule was way overbooked and he really didn't even have time for the meeting we were currently involved in and he would have to depart early.  Thank goodness one of his Sailors brought him his coffee and he had time to take a few sips before he jaunted off for his next meeting for which he was already late.  Good thing he was a Captain and those 40 Sailors didn't mind waiting.  Quite the busy man.

He wasn't the smartest person in the room, nor was he even the smartest man in the room.  Self importance is not a virtue in most environments requiring servant leadership.


My kids' Mom said...


HMS Defiant said...

Saw that during a CNO visit to my ship. Entire ships-company in ranks on the upper vehicle deck waiting to be addressed by command master chief of the navy. He was 30 minutes late and all we could do was wonder what was so important that we lost 500 man hours during a 10 maintenance period in port.

Anonymous said...

We actually had God's Gift to Naval Cryptology out here in Hawaii a few years back- O6 major command CO, and most certainly the smartest guy in the room. Every room for that matter, and no matter what the issue or question, he had the answer before engaging actual expert. What talent! Hadn't seen that kind of self-assessed rare ability, coupled with actual arrogance and toxicity since the most capable Naval Intelligence Admiral in the history of the world's Navys ran all of his O6 directors off the J2 staff and then went on to single-handedly reinvent Information Warfare for the ages. This amazingly gifted CO almost got through his tour, but then he discovered the boundaries of his power, got flanked on all sides by his own crew, and, in the fullness of time, the 3-star sent him home. Sometimes the Navy works the way it's supposed to. Humility; a leadership quality to be cultivated and guarded.

PJ Purple said...

As a retired CPO, I always appreciated leaders who were inclusive in their approach to dealings with members of any rank. Your comment about servant leadership is spot on. It’s not hard to recognize those who know that they know, those who don’t know that they know, and those who know that they don’t know from those who don’t know that they don’t know.

Currently I work for someone who’s ego arrives 5 minutes before he does. He always believes he’s the smartest person in the room and is very willing to share that belief at every chance. He’s one of those that doesn’t know that he doesn’t know.

Love this site! Thanks for sharing your wisdom.