In Business, Never Think You Are The Smartest Person In The Room

By: Howard Lewinter Thursday October 29, 2015 comments Tags: Howard Lewinter, Business Leaders, business tips

To be a successful business leader is somewhat of a balancing act. You need to be right up front leading the way and showing others how it’s done. At the same time, not letting your ego get the best of you.

There are business people who think they are leaders due to their company title and position. No matter where they go, they believe they are the smartest person in the room and choose never to listen to what others have to say.

In business, you can never think you are the smartest person in the room.

If and when you do, you instantly lose the opportunity to connect with other people. You lose the opportunity to hear what they say. You lose the opportunity for success.

For example, the person with the least amount of responsibility in the company may be the person who will give you an incredible idea that helps the business to meet its goals. That person may see something you don’t see. Recognize their contribution.

For business success, you need to be able to see things through other people’s eyes. From their point-of-view. From where they are standing and from what they have experienced.

A true business leader listens to what others have to say, asks questions and continues to listen. Not talk like you are the smartest person in the room and nobody knows more than you do.

Here’s another example: You’re at a party and engage someone in conversation. You start asking them questions appropriate to the gathering and about themselves. You don’t really talk all that much. Rather you just listen and ask more questions. When the other person walks away they will remember you in a positive way and how much they enjoyed talking with you. Rather than trying to get away from you at the first opportune moment. Why? Because you took an interest in them.

If you own and are running a business, everyone you work with is an extension of your business; they are an extension of you if you allow them to be.

Have questions about sales? Ask and listen to your salesforce.

Have questions about your products or services? Ask and listen to your customers.

Have questions about the level of customer service? Ask and listen to your customer service team.

Have you ever spent a day or even an hour in one of a co-worker’s job at your company? You’ll learn about your company and how to make it better.

Or maybe it’s the person who delivers the monthly supply for the water cooler. Say “hello” and start a conversation. A simple “hello” may lead to a comment or some other insight you otherwise would never have had access to. The delivery person may have observed something outside your building. Or may say one word that just suddenly lights up your brain and inspires an “aha moment” for you and more success for the business.

So never ever act like you are the smartest person in the room. Be the smartest person in the room because you:

  • Take an interest
  • Listen
  • Ask questions
  • Are involved in the business lives of others
  • Genuinely care about the success of everyone you meet.

In turn, you will be successful!

A significant percentage of your business success comes from the interaction with other people. Be consciously aware every business day of your conversations, no matter how short or long.

Remember: There are times when you need to take the lead and be dynamic in your business day. When you need to be the one doing the talking and giving others direction, information and motivation. The key is finding the right balance.

To your success!


Howard Lewinter is a business expert, business strategist and advisor to CEOs, presidents and business owners who want more success, more profit and less stress. Connect with Howard on LinkedIn or follow Howard on Twitter.


Howard Lewinter

About the Author: Howard Lewinter

Howard Lewinter guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners to more success – more profit – less stress. Visit Howard’s website and blog at Connect with Howard on LinkedIn or follow Howard on Twitter at @HowardLewinter.

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