I have often heard the statement, “You should hire people who are smarter than you.” You might want to reconsider this proposition before jumping on the bandwagon of this leadership ideology. To begin, let me define a smart person. This is someone who is the expert in his or her field of work. This person is skilled, talented, wise, and experienced. This person will also get the job done with little oversight and take initiative without being asked. Now that we have defined the smart person, here are four reasons not to hire people smarter than you.
1. Threat to Your Status
First, smart people will threaten your status. You have worked really hard to get to your current position. You have been recognized, encouraged, and promoted to this pristine standing. Why would you want someone coming in who might disrupt the great thoughts that your superiors or clients have of you? This smart person might be so good that others will want them to do the work instead of you. This could be a threat to your position. You might even wonder if you will have a job. Also, in order to maintain your status, you will have to work really hard taking all the credit for the work of the smart person without them knowing it. This will require you to guard information and seclude this person from important meetings.
2. Strong Opinions
The second reason not to hire really smart people is because they have strong opinions; especially in their area of expertise. These strong opinions might challenge or question the current state of the business you have worked so hard to create. These new thoughts and questions will disrupt the stability of the organization and systems you have developed.
3. Bigger Challenges
The third reason is that smart people want bigger challenges. This is another problem. First, you will have to work hard at finding new and difficult work for them to accomplish. This will take time away from protecting your status; I mean getting things done. Second, other teams or organizations are going to want this person. That can pose a real problem when you are trying to create consistency and longevity among team members.
4. Cost More
Finally, smart people will cost more to hire. For all you financially frugal-minded people, this reason speaks to your “love language.” We have a budget to maintain, and spending more money on an expert is a risk. What if this person does not fit into the company culture? What if he or she does not live up to your expectations? What if you cannot make the budget? It is ultimately a financial risk to hire people smarter than you.
On the flipside…
- If you are secure within yourself
- If you want even greater results
- If you want to grow and challenge yourself
You might try hiring someone smarter than you.