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Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders (scientificamerican.com) 677

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientific American: Intelligence makes for better leaders -- from undergraduates to executives to presidents -- according to multiple studies. It certainly makes sense that handling a market shift or legislative logjam requires cognitive oomph. But new research on leadership suggests that, at a certain point, having a higher IQ stops helping and starts hurting. The researchers looked at 379 male and female business leaders in 30 countries, across fields that included banking, retail and technology. The managers took IQ tests (an imperfect but robust predictor of performance in many areas), and each was rated on leadership style and effectiveness by an average of eight co-workers. IQ positively correlated with ratings of leader effectiveness, strategy formation, vision and several other characteristics -- up to a point. The ratings peaked at an IQ of around 120, which is higher than roughly 80 percent of office workers. Beyond that, the ratings declined. The researchers suggest the "ideal" IQ could be higher or lower in various fields, depending on whether technical versus social skills are more valued in a given work culture. The study's lead author, John Antonakis, a psychologist at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, suggests leaders should use their intelligence to generate creative metaphors that will persuade and inspire others -- the way former U.S. President Barack Obama did. "I think the only way a smart person can signal their intelligence appropriately and still connect with the people," Antonakis says, "is to speak in charismatic ways."
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Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders

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  • by MikeB0Lton ( 962403 ) on Thursday January 18, 2018 @11:38PM (#55957889)
    Idiocracy is officially here. President Camacho, here we come.
    • Re:They talk funny (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kiuas ( 1084567 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @03:02AM (#55958651)

      President Camacho

      The way I see it as an outsider is that Gamacho would be an improvement. I mean, here's a man that recognized his own limitations and did his best to get the smartest man alive to try and solve the issues they're facing because he knew he couldn't do so himself. That's actually a quality many leaders lack.

      Meanwhile, Trump's a guy who bragged about passing his health exam. Dude recognized some animals from pictures and he know holds himself to be a certified genius that's 'like, really smart'. Because if there's one thing we know about smart people it's that they constantly tell everyone how really super duper smart they are.

      • Re:They talk funny (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Sir Holo ( 531007 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @07:10AM (#55959277)

        Meanwhile, Trump's a guy who bragged about passing his health exam. Dude recognized some animals from pictures and he know holds himself to be a certified genius that's 'like, really smart'. Because if there's one thing we know about smart people it's that they constantly tell everyone how really super duper smart they are.

        The problem with being really smart is that one does not need to telegraph it. It telegraphs itself through their every action. Only a fool would become an actor full-time (having to act dumb to make manager) for a promotion. That's no promotion.

  • Just when we've begun to convince women not to dumb themselves down....now if you have a vision for an organization, you'd better not - as Kipling would say - "look too good or talk too wise."

    The upside, though, is that those who didn't fit in can honestly say, "I guess I was too smart to work for company X," or "I was too smart to work in the ___ industry." While that won't help anyone find work, perhaps it will help some to sleep at night.
    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @01:20AM (#55958345)

      I don't think it is a matter of appearing "too wise". I have known several people with IQs from 140 to 160, and while they were not Rainman, they all had some significant personality disorders. I think it is those socialization problems that keep many high IQers from being good leaders rather than just being "too smart".

      The human brain is a balanced organ, and if too many neurons are devoted to doing well on an IQ test, then not enough are left over for things like empathy, and social skills.

      • by sound+vision ( 884283 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @01:41AM (#55958405) Journal
        You're on the right track I think. I doubt it has to do with the number of neurons, but high IQs correlate with autism, for example. People with excessive but narrowly focused intelligence do well on a test that measures a narrow aspect of intelligence...

        Beyond autism, which is a neurological condition, I've noticed intelligent people often develop particularly bad attitudes and ways of interacting with people. (Some of these attitudes have been codified as "personality disorders".) It's easy for them to feel like they are above other people, and for that conception to shine through as taking a condescending tone when talking to people. I was the same way early on in my youth. Some people develop the maturity to grow out of it, others don't. Well, I still maybe talk that way sometimes on Slashdot. But in contexts where I'm interested in maintaining a positive relationship with whoever I'm talking to, no.
      • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @03:45AM (#55958757)
        Multiple studies have been done on this phenomenon, and I am rather surprised that this is presented as "news".

        The simple fact is that people generally do not accept "leaders" who have IQs more than about 20 points higher than their own. And the reason -- according to current theory -- is that they just don't understand how each other think.

        This has shown to hold for IQs between about 70 and 160.

        Someone with an IQ of 70 does not well understand someone of IQ 100, someone of IQ 90 does not well understand someone of IQ 120 and someone of 120 does not well understand someone with an IQ of 150.

        There is a rather large body of study and evidence to support this. It is no great mystery.
        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Which in the end means that democracies cannot have good leaders, as the average IQ + 20 points does not make for anybody smart enough to actually manage a country well. A pity, but does match observable data (and "leaders").

          • That's why we have a republic and not a democracy,
            • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @07:07AM (#55959269)

              A representative democracy (which you call a "republic") is a form of democracy. You might want to read what these words mean before using them :)

              • by Gaxx ( 76064 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @07:44AM (#55959341)

                Nope.. I'm afraid that thinkwaitfast was correct. It's a republic (a representative one) rather than a democracy - at least in the technical sense. Two things keep it from being a democracy:

                1. Not everyone has the right to vote.
                2. There is a constitutional limit placed upon the majority will. As a result, the government representing the majority vote is unable to necessarily enact their will if doing so violates the constitution.

                The differences are subtle, though, in modern democratic republics:

                https://www.diffen.com/differe... [diffen.com]
                https://keydifferences.com/dif... [keydifferences.com]

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  It's a republic (a representative one) rather than a democracy

                  Republic and Democracy are two different, and not mutually exclusive, concepts. A country can be either or both; the US is both.

                  Both of your points 1 & 2 are irrelevant, there are many ways to define a Democracy besides your pure everyone-votes-on-everything-majority-rules form.

                • As another AC points out, you're both wrong and needlessly pedantic. Democracy literally means "rule by the people," and while voting, universal suffrage, and direct election are often features of a democratic form of government, they are not of themselves either necessary or sufficient conditions. A republic such as ours is, when functioning, a democracy.
      • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @05:00AM (#55958955) Journal

        Social skills, contrairily to popular believe, have nothing to do with IQ or EQ, but with teaching young people how to behave properly. And many don't learn over time with age to become better.

        I learned to be more social due to martial arts. The 'concept' is very simple. You behave like everyone else expects you to behave and you are fully integrated.

        Funny, that you bow now to your teacher, training partner or a picture at the wall, but felt humilated when your mother asked you to say hello to a visitor.

        Anyway, I travel lately mostly in Asia, and in Europe mostly in Scandinavian or Romanic countries ... being simply polite gets you everywhere.

        The stupid idea of 'freedom' and 'the others' have to 'cope with me' is the reason why people are blamed for having a bad EQ. They don't have a bad EQ ... they never learned or accepted to learn basic human behaviour.

        Look at a group of apes in the morning ... all the young ones walk around and greet the old ones. In our world this is considered 'old fashioned'.

        • The study's lead author, John Antonakis, a psychologist at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, suggests leaders should use their intelligence to generate creative metaphors that will persuade and inspire others -- the way former U.S. President Barack Obama did. "I think the only way a smart person can signal their intelligence appropriately and still connect with the people," Antonakis says, "is to speak in charismatic ways."

          Many smart people who are not a psychologist might believe that leaders can contribute much more in ways other than communications and signaling.

          Like oh, I don't know, making wise decisions? Organizing people and their work? Fitting people into roles which will best take advantage of their capabilities?

          "Speaking in charismatic ways" from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland sounds like the logic which awarded Obama a Nobel Peace Prize for getting himself elected.

      • It's worth noting that the standard IQ tests have very low discrimination above 120 (for example, successive attempts at different IQ tests will give high variation for the same test taker). I'm therefore very suspicious of anything that attempts to correlate 120+ scores with anything if they only did one test. There are specially designed IQ tests that have high discrimination over 130 and very low discrimination below that (i.e. most people with an IQ under that are expected to get 0-1 questions right)
    • Indeed it's already been known for a long time that having an IQ too high often disqualifies you from being a police officer. (They claim because high IQ people would be bored, but I'd bet the real reason is that high IQ is associated with inability to tolerate manifest injustice like ruining some kids life because he had the wrong type of pill is his pocket and other instances being asked to carry out orders you know are wrong.)
      • Actually, one of my former GFs applied for joining the policce in Germany around 1990.
        She got rejected for having an to high IQ.

        I would have rejected her for a to low EQ :) ... not joking.

  • by locater16 ( 2326718 ) on Thursday January 18, 2018 @11:39PM (#55957901)
    So all those AIs in sci-fi, not the Skynet kind but the ones where they try to help humanity and humanity gets indignant for being too dumb to understand, are accurate?
    • God, what if 120 is the universal peak, and smarter and smarter AIs will be too incompetent at leadership to do anything?

      • of Ian Bank's Culture novels.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        How about looking at IQ in behavioural terms. The greater ability to learn faster and understand their existence, how does that affect 120 plus, 130 plus and 140 plus. Do they perform differently because, they live in a different world, one of greater understanding and their goals are different as a result.

        Like being happy, what is it to be happy, well, brain chemical flows and thought frequency rates are in what feels like the positive zone and short, medium and long term planning indicates that current

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday January 18, 2018 @11:50PM (#55957933)

    To a smart person with they see the world in a particular way. So when they try to explain themselves to the public they are talking above their comprehension. This is often insulting to the other person because it sounds like you are using your vocabulary and more advanced reasoning to show that you are better then them.
    Someone else with a lower intelligence, works more off of instincts, which does have the advantage of making faster decisions which are more often then not correct. However to a higher IQ person this is just ignoring factors which should be addressed. And such reactions is insulting for not listening to the rational argument.
    A high IQ person leading people with low IQ often creates conflict because the low IQ people just fail to see the big picture or know to follow the more abstract steps. They want right and wrong. Not careful balance of what is going on and actions based on situations.

    • The IQ test includes a test of verbal acuity. If someone who is 'traditionally' intelligent is unable to communicate their "comprehension", then perhaps their verbal intelligence isn't as high as whatever else is providing them with the insight they are trying to communicate. There are good arguments that the three areas tested by the IQ test are far from the only forms of intelligence. Social or emotional intelligence might help prevent someone feeling as though they are being treated with condescension.

      Wh

    • I didn't understand. Can you re-write it using only words with 3 letters or less?
    • These days politics has been reduced to sound bites and tweets. Intelligent statements often can't be reduced to a 3 second clip. Effective solutions often require explanation, where as simple but ineffective ones like "build a wall" or "ban Muslims" don't.

      We need to find ways to communicate good ideas in this new age, or somehow force a change away from politics by tweet.

    • by Amouth ( 879122 )

      it has been years since i wanted mod points, and i wish i had them.. you nailed it.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday January 18, 2018 @11:58PM (#55957963)
    they can run the country with good 'ole fashion common sense. It doesn't help that it looks easy. After all, anyone can tell somebody else what to do, right? It's like writing. You learn to do it in grade school. How hard can this Shakespear stuff be, amiright? The trouble is it's scary to think that the problems of the world are too complex for you to understand and solve. Rather than face that fact and seek help a lot of folks deny it and try to force the world to conform the the reality they've chosen to believe in; with predictable results...

    Also, a significant portion of the population really, really hates to feel talked down to; and, well, it's easy to rile these folks up, drive them to the polls and get them to vote you into office. Clinton (Bill) used to do it. When he talked to old people he dyed his hair gray. Young folks got a brown dye. And his southern drawl pretty much vanished when he wasn't on the campaign in the South.
    • On the other hand, it's often easy to tell if someone's bullshitting you since there are certain common characteristics between charlatans.
    • by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @01:25AM (#55958363)

      The problem with "common sense" is for the most part, its neither common, nor sense. Theres a lot of things that "common sense" says is right , but reality disagrees. Things like migration , crime and punishment , foreign relations, military tactics, climate change, and so on, all having counter intuitive truths behind them that defy "common" sense.

      Its a problem thats been recognized all the way back to the ancient greeks. Plato though a good alternative was the Philosopher King, putting the smartest man in greece in charge (presumably, him). Fortunately for democracy later thinkers noted dictatorships tended to favor military experts rather than civil experts, and kindoms favored heredity.

    • Clinton (Bill) used to do it. When he talked to old people he dyed his hair gray. Young folks got a brown dye. And his southern drawl pretty much vanished when he wasn't on the campaign in the South.

      Nice observation.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday January 18, 2018 @11:58PM (#55957965)

    I wondered why so many people dislike a stable genius.

  • by javaman235 ( 461502 ) on Thursday January 18, 2018 @11:59PM (#55957977) Homepage

    The difference between the average person (IQ 100) and and a legally retarded guy in a helmet (IQ 70) is the same as between a bright college guy (IQ 115) and a really dull witted convict (IQ 85) is the difference between a professor (IQ 130) and average guy. Maybe the gap becomes too big for the brainy prof to care about winning popularity contest?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      IQ is measured in standard deviation based units, not an absolute "smartz" units.

      15 IQ is 1 standard deviation, so 70 IQ is 2 standard deviations below the median.

      If you have a relatively small number of actually brain damaged people (a few percent of the population), they'll "fill in" the slots at below average IQ. 70 IQ is 2 standard deviations below the mean. If actual large-scale brain damage (congentital, chemical or injury based) covers 2% of the population, then that level of brain damage becomes 7

  • bah bah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hugh Jorgen ( 4906427 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @12:05AM (#55958011)
    Hitler, David Koresh and Charles Manson were charismatic too. Shortly after Obama was elected the wiki article on Charismatic Leaders was deleted. Charisma will lead the sheep to slaughter but it doesn't indicate strong leadership or managerial skills.
  • Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders

    Now we know why the libs hate Trump so much. After all, he scored highest on his cognitive tests.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-... [thehill.com]

    And also because he was the best baseball player in New York in the early 1960s.

    https://www.sportsgrid.com/as-... [sportsgrid.com]

    • Well since he's the first president ever to be subjected to this test..

      Here it is: https://pdbp.ninds.nih.gov/sit... [nih.gov]

      It's really hard. The hardest! And Trump aced it!

      • It's really hard. The hardest! And Trump aced it!

        That's what I'm saying. He's #1 and has the best words.

    • Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders

      Now we know why the libs hate Trump so much. After all, he scored highest on his cognitive tests.

      Yes. He was able to correctly name drawings of (a) a lion, (b) a rhinoceros and (c) a camel.
      (scroll down article [straitstimes.com] for test sample)

      • I don't want to read your link, to not spoil the fun.
        But I bet a one year wage that the 'Camel' was not a Camel but a 'Dromedar'.
        Which makes me wonder how americans cal a real Camel.

  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @12:13AM (#55958055)

    Social experiments are difficult. Did they correct for the issue that very smart people are likely to lead groups with different functions than moderately smart people? Maybe there is a correlation between high intelligence and leading groups that work under very large time pressure or under poorly - defined constraints?

  • by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <.kepler1. .at. .hotmail.com.> on Friday January 19, 2018 @12:17AM (#55958069)
    Well, aside from the idiocy of many in the American public being anti-intellectual false populists... I would venture to say that in fact, most of our policy problems are not problems that an individual's incrementally higher IQ is needed to solve. We're not stymied by cold fusion or quantum tunneling or something like that. Our problems are social, not scientific.
    • Correct.

      Public sphere difficulties that can be solved by mere supergenius level cleverness are eventually taken cared of, albeit usually by incremental efforts of many individuals instead of one savior. Then we stop calling then controversies, and the are relegated to boring stuff in the history books.

      The intractable problems are controversies exactly because there exist fundamental disagreements about how to frame the question(s) for making decisions about what price must be paid or value that must be com

  • TL;DR version (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @12:21AM (#55958079)

    Some people are dumb as shit and don't like you because they cannot comprehend the message you are attempting to convey.

  • IQ focuses on a very narrow measure of intelligence: prowess in things like match, science, and reasoning. Good leaders need much more than this. They also need prowess in dealing with politics, getting people to be enthusiastic about their work, dealing with difficult people.

    Often, those with very high IQs have specialized (intentionally or not) in only the traditional subjects measured by IQ. It's no accident that many brilliant people have trouble with human relationships.

    To a degree, mental energy and s

  • by jensend ( 71114 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @12:35AM (#55958151)

    Mitt Romney is one of the smartest presidential candidates this nation has ever seen, as well as a fundamentally decent human being. People tore him to bits over offhand comments and talked endlessly about his unforgivable sin of having - 30 years prior - taken his dog on vacation. (One New York Times columnist published no less than 86 columns talking about that incident, which seems like obsessive enough behavior to qualify for institutionalization.)

    Donald Trump is one of the least intelligent presidential candidates this nation has ever seen. Blatant lies, boasts about sexual assault, and so on only served to feed his campaign. At least a third of the country is still really excited about having this "stable genius" lead them even though he clearly struggles to understand any of the issues a President faces.

    Look at Churchill's speeches or FDR's fireside chats. Now look at Donald Trump's twitter stream (MY EYES! THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING!). This is the evolution of civil discourse in just one lifetime.

    I get that sometimes someone who speaks blunt falsehoods rather than complex truths can be seen as a "man of the people." I don't think this has to be so. I don't think this has been true in all cultures and at all times through human history. I don't know how we can overcome the anti-intellectual pressures that have been building in this country for 70 years, the politicization of journalism and education, the degeneration of political discourse at all levels into dick jokes and cursing, and so on. But if we don't find some way to overcome it our civilization will collapse.

    • ...snipsnip... Donald Trump is one of the least intelligent presidential candidates this nation has ever seen. Blatant lies, boasts about sexual assault, and so on only served to feed his campaign

      The lying, misogyny, insensitivity, bellicosity, narcissism and over-compensated inferiority complex have nothing to do with intelligence. Those are simply indecies of maladjustment. According the the smartest guy around, Donald Trump is the smartest guy around. He is, in fact, way, way too smart to be a good leader or President. The job of POTUS is just not good enough for the Donald. He should be conferred Supreme Doctor of Thinkology, Universitartus Committiartum E Pluribus Unum. All hail the mighty Trump! We tremble under the lash of your intellect!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What does Mitt Romney being smart have to do with anything? He was running against the most charismatic candidate in modern history, who was also enormously intelligent. His opponent took office at a time when the economy had just collapsed and the country was mired in multiple never-ending wars from the outgoing president. People didn't want another plutocrat Republican. Being smart and "fundamentally decent" doesn't mean he would help the poor.

  • actually (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 19, 2018 @01:03AM (#55958249)

    it's just smarmy, arrogant, narcissists that people hate NOT smart people.

    How many Americans hated Einstein? None that I can recall.

    Interesting that Obama is cited... an arrogant narcissist who divisively attacked half the country repeatedly as hicks who cling to guns, religion, etc and did not understand the brilliance of the socialism he adored (remember his attack on "joe the plumber"?). What's interesting is that we have no evidence that he is smarter than or better educated than Donald Trump. Obama proved his ability by winning the presidency, as Trump has done, but unlike Trump all of Obama's academic records are sealed so we have no idea what classes he took, what grades he got, etc. and in fact the general public has seen interviews with classmates and professors of people like Ted Cruz, Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump, the public has never seen interviews with Obama's professors, classmates or even the students he is supposed to have taught. I allege no conspiracy here (other than the curious apparent desire of tram Obama to hide such stuff) and only point out that all the claims of Obama's supposed genius are apparently just the confirmation bias of liberals assuming anybody who agrees with them must be super-smart. I have seen Obama stutter mercilessly when his teleprompters hang, and have seen him use TWO teleprompters to talk with a group of elementary school kids - meanwhile Sarah Palin gave her entire GOP convention speech on live national TV with NO teleprompters (they failed just as she began talking) and NOBODY in the public noticed (go watch the YouTubes of that event and be stunned).

    People need to stop being manipulated by the pre-washed pre-spun narratives of the media. A guy like Obama might look great on TV but it's not evidence he is smart. A guy like Reagan or a gal like Thatcher can be mercilessly portrayed by the press as a dottering old fool while winning a decades-long cold war (without firing a shot) and freeing more people from tyranny and political oppression than any other person in history - pretty smart in MY book.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But how smart was Einstein really? Yes, we know he produced the Theory of Relativity. But was that a result of extraordinary intelligence, or the result of a serendipitous insight, similar to the creative insights artists and musicians have (people that aren't exactly renowned for their intelligence).

      While Einstein did produce the Theory of Relativity, I've also heard that Teller and Oppenheimer excluded him for the A-bomb project because, Theory of Relativity or not, they just weren't that impressed with h

  • *Just a slob like one of us?*

  • by HanzoSpam ( 713251 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @01:42AM (#55958407)

    The assumption of the article is that higher IQ is "better". By what metric? If higher IQ is necessarily more advantageous, why did humans evolve to have average IQ's of 100 rather than 180? You would think if the higher IQ was more advantageous, the 180 IQ people would have displaced the lower IQ ones. Yet, that hasn't happened.

    Nor do I see that the people with the highest IQ's are the most successful in their fields. There are plenty of virtuoso musicians I can think of that are actually drooling idiots when they put down their instruments, and plenty of geniuses that can't carry a tune in a bucket.

    Perhaps our problem here is the assumption that intelligence in the end-all and be-all of human achievement. Perhaps it ain't necessarily so.

    • There are plenty of virtuoso musicians I can think of that are actually drooling idiots when they put down their instruments, and plenty of geniuses that can't carry a tune in a bucket.

      Simply put, Intellectually Gifted and Talented are not the same thing. A person can be one, the other or both - and to varying degrees, within the objective definitions. (My wife was a Gifted Education and English teacher.)

  • Mere intelligence is not enough, you also need to know that someone is trustworthy. If someone is a little bit smarter than you, you can understand what they are saying and therefore comprehend their plan when they explain it. You don't need to trust them, you can understand that by making abortion legal, you can expect population growth to slow.

    But when someone is a LOT smarter than you, you can't do that. You literally are not smart enough to understand their plan, even if they explain it slowly. I

    • Whoops, I did the math wrong their at the end, it was supposed to be people of an IQ of 140 trust those with an IQ up to 160.

      Guess my IQ is not 160.

      • Guess my IQ is not 160.

        It probably is....it's so high you've transcended math and the rest of us aren't able to follow it.

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @02:42AM (#55958607) Homepage

    "IQ positively correlated with ratings of leader effectiveness...The ratings peaked at an IQ of around 120"

    If two people have an IQ difference of more than 2 sigma (2 standard deviations, or about 30 IQ points), it becomes very difficult for them to communicate with each other effectively. [scribd.com]

    I would have this was pretty well-known and well accepted by now. TFA specifically looks at office workers of various types, so it's a good bet that the average worker will have an IQ in the 100-110 range. So a manager with an IQ of 120 is just enough smarter to do the job well, but not too smart to run into communications problems. A completely believable "sweet spot" for your typical office. But probably not for JPL or a construction site.

    If you get beyond 2 sigmas: For anything more than small talk, the smart person feels like they have to "dumb down" everything they say, and even then it's hard to get across anything complex. Meanwhile the lower IQ person realizes that they're being "talked down to", that they are being seen as dumb, and they resent it.

  • I can't see the original paper so the authors might account for it, but it strikes me that they have a huge selection bias problem.

    I basically see three reasons why people become leaders.

    1) They're connected.
    2) They've got great leadership skills.
    3) They're extremely competent in the field.

    The connected people are probably of average intelligence and leadership skills.

    But as to the other two groups, you're comparing group #2 selected for their leadership skills to group #3 selected for their brains. An inve

  • A super-smart person can't be likable. The problem is that they make others around them appear dumb, simply by comparison. That's why bad leaders find dumb people. They look better by comparison.

    But the smart people don't relate as well. Either you dumb yourself down, or others will notice. That's the same reason good car salesmen look and act dumb. If they are dumb, then you'll feel you got a good deal.

    That's why there are so many Autism diagnoses. Parlty Munchausen by Proxy, and part belief that
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @06:11AM (#55959141)

    Mary: It's okay to be smarter than everybody else, but you can't go around pointing it out.
    Sheldon: Why?
    Mary: Because people don't like it!

    Sorry for the quote. It's rare that BBT-quotes are on topic, so let me have that moment.

    People don't dislike smart leaders. They dislike people that make them feel stupid. And with half of the people that's pretty easy to do if your intelligence is even just average. What they like is people that make them feel smart and superior. And that's easy to do for someone who comes across as an idiot.

    That might have been true for Bush Jr., but not for Trump. Trump is an asshole, but he ain't stupid. He doesn't even fake being stupid. Then why does Trump "work"? Well, mostly because Hillary didn't, but even that's secondary. Trump offers easy answers to very complicated question. Answers that can be understood by anyone, and as long as nobody questions them or even has to implement them, that's fine.

    Unfortunately that only gets you so far. That's basically what fell the Soviet Union. Lots of rhetoric but very little substance in the end, and the smokescreen of martial words and promises eventually evaporates.

    • Mary: It's okay to be smarter than everybody else, but you can't go around pointing it out.
      Sheldon: Why?
      Mary: Because people don't like it!

      Sorry for the quote. It's rare that BBT-quotes are on topic, so let me have that moment.

      People don't dislike smart leaders. They dislike people that make them feel stupid. And with half of the people that's pretty easy to do if your intelligence is even just average. What they like is people that make them feel smart and superior. And that's easy to do for someone who comes across as an idiot.

      That might have been true for Bush Jr., but not for Trump. Trump is an asshole, but he ain't stupid. He doesn't even fake being stupid. Then why does Trump "work"? Well, mostly because Hillary didn't, but even that's secondary. Trump offers easy answers to very complicated question. Answers that can be understood by anyone, and as long as nobody questions them or even has to implement them, that's fine.

      Unfortunately that only gets you so far. That's basically what fell the Soviet Union. Lots of rhetoric but very little substance in the end, and the smokescreen of martial words and promises eventually evaporates.

      Trump "works" because he is a bullshit artist. Most certainly not stupid.

      That, and to quote a very smart man, George Carlin:

      "Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that!"

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @06:44AM (#55959225)

    Because Thomas Jefferson.

    The argument that "too much" intelligence makes for a bad leader is always made by someone who is trying to rationalize the unpopularity of his own pet ideas.

  • Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @08:23AM (#55959425)

    Smart leaders tell you what's really going on not what you want to hear to make yourself feel good. In order to be competitive, you need good intelligence to formulate effective strategies. If all you want is people who tell you what you want to hear regardless of reality then you will ultimately fail because you won't be making decisions based on what is actually going on in your company and in your market.

    It feels good for awhile with all the "yes people" and positive vibes then the money runs out, the doors close and it's time to find a new pasture to do it all over again

  • by jockeys ( 753885 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @10:05AM (#55959765) Journal
    I could type for an hour on the subject, but I won't. I'll just summarize by saying trying to understand people and be empathetic has made a way bigger impact on my personal and professional lives than being able to code faster or better. 20-year old me is still kind of upset about this, but pushing-40-year old me has sort of accepted it as a necessary skill for living in a world where people (generally) are more influenced by emotions than by logic.
  • by RazorSharp ( 1418697 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @10:48AM (#55960015)

    Studies like these are why the social sciences really bug me. The whole thing is built upon weak premises, such as using IQ as a metric and contrasting it with whatever method they had for rating the effectiveness of these leaders. When none of your variables are concrete, how can the results of the study really tell us anything? To extrapolate a conclusion from this hodgepodge of data would be foolish.

    When it comes to social sciences, I'll take a holistic, less scientific approach such as Malcolm Gladwell's or Steven Levitt's. Some studies just don't fit well with the scientific method, and misapplying it leads to nonsense research like this where the researchers can't see the forest for the trees.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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