Recognizing Genius

Here’s something we hear a lot about: Everyone has genius.

Seems like a nice-enough thought. But do you actually believe it?

Steve Jobs had genius. Ellen DeGeneres has genius. Richard Branson has genius. Marie Curie had genius. Beyoncé has genius. Tom Brady has genius. Eminem has genius. Julia Child had genius. Maya Angelou had genius. Roger Federer has genius.

This all seems obvious. We could name hundreds more—people we’ve heard a lot about, but have never met, who most of us would agree have genius.

But how about Helen in Accounts Payable? Amy in IT. Jimmy in Marketing. Judy at the front desk?

Do they have genius? Can you see it? Do you nurture and support it?

Ask yourself, as a leader and team member, do you see the genius in your everyday work colleagues? Each of us has deeply entrenched mindsets about how we view those we work with. The same is true outside of work with our spouses, brothers-in-law, children, neighbors, and committee members.

Think about the people who either report to you or are on the same team as you. Slowly run through their names in your mind and in private, answer how you view their skills and contributions. You likely have positive and critical opinions about each of them, based on your experience with them.

Can you see their genius? When their personalities, interests, backgrounds, or fields of experience vary greatly from yours, can you challenge your critical perceptions about them and uncover their genius?

Perhaps they don’t even recognize their own genius, because they haven’t had someone who recognized it in them, nurtured them, and believed in them. 

Look around your organization, division, and team. There is genius all around you. Are you nimble, abundant, and committed enough to locate it, name it, and help it flourish?

Perhaps all that’s needed for someone to realize their genius is for someone to actually recognize them.


Are you a senior leader faced with implementing a must-win initiative in the shortest amount of time, yet requiring maximum employee engagement? Download our latest guide to execute your strategic goals and create breakthrough results.

About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 23-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the executive vice president of thought leadership. Scott hosts multiple podcasts including FranklinCovey’s On Leadership and Great Life, Great Career. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release: Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow. Scott authors a weekly leadership column for Inc.com and is a frequent contributor for Thrive Global. Previously Scott worked for the Disney Development Company, having grown up in Central Florida, and currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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