We must temper the ego of brilliance by focusing on what should be done, rather than what can be done. Leaders are responsible for finding the balance. The most brilliant people are superstars in regards to figuring out what can be done about the most difficult problems and opportunities. However, if we don’t focus on what should be done, our most brilliant ideas can lead to the downfall of the organization.
Taking the most extreme examples, why have many of the most brilliant people ended up in a life of crime? It is because of how thrilling it was for them to concoct the plan, which was most likely something that no one else had ever figured out. They never gave much thought as to whether or not it should be done. Their brilliance came with an ego/belief that if they ever ran into trouble, they could just figure their way out of it. They likely led their entire life with that philosophy, but at some point there was no more “figuring it out” and that is when their world came tumbling down.
My biggest question has always been how someone so brilliant is not smart enough to embrace Leadership? Those that do go very far in life, whereas those that do not are dangerous. Brilliance can quickly become unattractive, without the right balance of can and should.
When brilliance and leadership are combined (regardless if it is one person or a team) the organization is unstoppable.