Do you work for a smart boss? One that always has all the answers? Like the boss who tries to be clever or funny, it gets old quickly. If you’re the boss, pay attention to how frequently you showcase your intelligence.

I’ve been writing this week about bad habits of funny and not-so-funny bosses. I’ve occasionally coached people like that. Most don’t see their humor as a problem, but their need to be funny often clouds good judgment and devalues relationships.

Worse, perhaps, is the boss who needs to be brilliant and grabs every opportunity to showcase his/her high IQ and knowledge. I say worse, because it shows up in more subtle ways. At first, you start to respect the smart boss. Then it starts to wear on you as you realize they are constantly directing attention to themselves. You start to wonder if you and your work are being noticed.

The problem with being a smart boss has nothing to do with IQ; it’s everything to do with poor social intelligence. If you’re smart – really smart, and you’re the boss – you’ll want to showcase your people’s brilliance more than your own.

Sure, your people ask you questions and value your knowledge and advice. But a truly brilliant boss will turn around to focus on how people can find their own solutions. Smart bosses ask questions, lots of questions. They spotlight what’s right, and encourage participation and full engagement. They strive to bring out the best in people.

A boss can’t inspire his people if he’s talking about himself and his past achievements. He (or she) inspires them by making each person aware of their strengths. Smart bosses look for opportunities to reinforce each person’s progress and celebrate small wins.

What’s it like where you work? Is your boss asking you questions and focusing on the strengths you bring to the team? Or is the conversation a platform for the boss’s need to be brilliant? I’d love to hear from you; leave a comment.