Can Too Much Intelligence Be a Bad Thing?

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Emotional intelligence in leadership is all too rare. Here’s why.

Let’s face it—if acquiring information was the only prerequisite for learning…we could pick up a dictionary, memorize its content, and walk away with a pretty robust education.

Intuitively we know it is more than that—but what is the more? If memorizing or collecting raw data is not real learning—what is?

Real learning is the act of processing through information to acquire and stimulate the formation of ideas. No computer, as replete with information as it is, has come up with an original idea completely on its own.

In other words, it is what you do with the data that constitutes learning.

Chances are, you are reading this on a mobile device. You probably found this blog through your favorite social media channel. Did you arrive here by accident?


More than likely, you surfed through search engine tailored content. This content was fed to your newsfeed by a hyper-intelligent AI—an AI that used your personal search history and perceived preferences to custom load which articles and ads you would see.

We are being custom-scoped, segmented, and aggregated into information fields tailored to our supposed likes.

Whether it’s Google (a reference to ‘googol’, a large number meaning 10 to the 100th power), Bing (meant to connote the speed in which the world’s information is at our finger tips), or another platform—we are truly living in the information age.

Perhaps more aptly, the intelligence age. The question, however, is what kind of intelligence?

Is intelligence really just the mere gathering, collection, and interpreting of facts and figures effortlessly spun from Siri and Alexa into cars, thermostats, and mobile devices the world over?

Or is there something missing in intelligence? Something causing us to be more disconnected from true intelligence than ever before? Could the extreme focus on the effortless IQ drip actually be blinding us from what true intelligence and learning really look like?

The core issue—our generation has more access to knowledge than ever before, yet seems to struggle more than ever with figuring out how to use it in real life situations to effect personal and societal change.

What’s at stake? The future of leadership itself.

The simple fact that we can learn the lessons of the past more easily than ever—yet seem more primed to repeat the same mistakes—shows a serious deficiency.

If leadership at its core is all about influence—how to effect real change in people, environments, shaping cultures at home, business, and society—leaders need more than just the right data. They need to learn from that data and bring it into action.

Leaders must not only learn how to read the data points—they need to know how to read the people they are leading.

At the end of the day, management is more about how we manage the real people in front of us. Not just how they are doing—but what is happening within them.

We also need to learn how people are reading us individually and how that perception impacts what we say to them. Understanding and managing “inner” personal communication as well as “inter” personal communication makes all the difference.

This is Emotional Intelligence in leadership, and it is what often goes missing in a world of highly accessible IQ.

Emotional Intelligence in leadership is about managing hearts, emotions, and belief systems—as well as recognizing the obstacles people have in taking knowledge and applying it with great success.

At the heart of Emotional Intelligence is the ability to help people and teams look inwardly and process what they find when they do.

Stronger relationships, synergistic teams, and maximized productivity will result from leaders who are highly skilled at Emotional Intelligence.

The transformation of knowledge into lasting learning and successful relationships takes time — but it is not out of reach. What’s the first step? Acknowledge that information inside a vacuum is not enough. You need more.

Are you ready to be more effective in the difficult conversations in your life? Download our FREE PDF entitled 9 Reasons Why Difficult Conversations Are So Hard (and what to do about them).