There are many who believe that it’s bad for their job security if they ever hire someone smarter than them. They may not ever admit this or advocate it as a management philosophy, but if they’re honest with themselves, they recognize it.
It never made sense to me, but I guess some feel threatened if they have someone working for them who knows more about a particular field or speciality.
Over my career, I’ve hired many people, and it was always my hope that they were some of the most intelligent people in their field.
A work environment full of talented and intelligent people raises the bar for everyone in it. And the thing about intelligence is that it’s not all or nothing. No one is simply universally smarter than someone else.
I’ve met and worked with phd’s who were at the forefront of their field who weren’t sure how to order a pizza. Some would call it book smart versus common sense. However you call it, people have different talents and bring different strenghts – and weaknesses – to the table.
My goal was always to have people around who knew their craft and were students of their craft. I wanted people who were invested in their profession and knew more about their speciality than me or anyone else in my department.
When you have great people who are sharp, they not only look good themselves, but they make the entire department look better. And when the entire department looks great, the person in charge – the one ultimately responsible – looks great, too.
Besides, whether you’re a member of the department or the head of it – it’s not about looking good, anyway. It’s about doing remarkable work, pushing the team’s personal and professional boundaries and accomplishing things once thought beyond your limits.
If you can accomplish all of that, your reputation will be just fine.