MSPM: Smart-n-ass

Some smart people want to seize every moment and every opportunity to show that they have a point, no matter how banal it is. They feel cheated if they are not the first one to correct someone on a very obvious mistake made. Like saying we will check this tomorrow on a Friday will get smart asses all worked up (assuming its not a working weekend). Hope you got the drift. Making a point is extremely important for them, even if almost everyone except imbeciles could have made it. The race is about being the first one to point it out. Also, in the process making a point becomes more important than making it count. That explains why meeting are considered an utter waste of time, because all the smart-asses end up making points in order to get heard not really focusing on making those points count.

So, the summary of this argument is that, if at the back of our minds, we can keep the objectives clear and focus on them, rather than focusing on getting yourself brownies, which are useless for the objective, all of us at the end should be better off. This is in line with the aphorism, that if people stop caring about who gets the credit, they will do much better as a team. And if you are working with good people, in the end they should be able to give everyone his/her deserved due. However, I am not entirely sure if this is a practical thing to do. It sounds quite Utopian thing to do and may work only if there is a cooperative (as in cooperative game theory) environment.

Things can turn ugly in places where things are really cut-throat and the benign ones might just end up getting all the flak at the end without getting any credit for good things they did. In a non-benign environment there is no single objective, there are objectives and invariably most of them are in conflict with each other, so this may not really work out. However, if the smartass is in a leadership capability, then to reach to a smarter level, (s)he needs to ensure the smart-asses in his(er) team (that includes him/her also) are free from this kind of competition and thinking.

In the end, someone has to think of the forest over trees, and that is the kind of fella I would like to be and work with.

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