Life's Rule #9 - Wearing your Smarty-Pants

In Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, rule 9 is “assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.”

He argues leaders speak merely to assert or confirm their place in the dominance hierarchy or their superior intelligence.

As a leader aren’t you supposed to have all the answers? Isn’t that why you are in that box in the org tree?

Imagine every employee in your team wears a large backpack. Inside each is a bunch of monkeys. The bigger the backpack, the more monkeys.

Each time someone comes into your office, the sage (you) offers some astute advice. In return, the employee gives you a monkey as a thank you.

Smart people who try to solve everyone else’s problems wonder why they end up with a room full of cavorting and cajoling primates?

Peterson brilliantly describes advice from the employee perspective as it's “what you get when the person you are talking with about something horrible and complicated wishes you would just shut up and go away.”

So how does it help your team by being the smartest guy in the room?

It doesn't.

Humility will get better results than a superior intellect.