2-for-1: Decrease your tasks and maintain IQs!

A long time ago, I thought that my IQ level meant how intelligent I was.  If I took an IQ test and scored high, it meant I was a genius and that some secret society bent of world domination was going to reach out to me regarding a membership, right? 

Both of those ideas are myths.  A measurement of one’s IQ level is not to determine how “smart” they are, but rather look at how well they can problem solve and comprehend solutions. 

The Wall Street Journal has an article on a few different studies completed recently regarding IQ levels and how they can invariably change over time, along with methods to increase and/or maintain IQ levels in the long term.  The most interesting part in one of the studies I found was the correlation between the work you do and how it affects your IQ levels over time. 

For example, the National Institute of Mental Health completed a 30-year study of individuals to measure changes in IQ levels.  They found that those whose jobs required “…complex relationships, setting up elaborate systems or dealing with people or difficult problems…”  typically maintained their IQ levels or scored higher than previous when compared to those whose work required less critical thinking and simpler tasks.

When I read this, I thought of a book Ken wrote called The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey. The basic premise of the book is how in a lot of organizations, workers spend a lot of time managing their bosses, instead of managing their own work.  In other words, an individual contributor goes to their boss with a problem, and instead of the boss providing some steps to help that individual solve the problem, the boss winds up taking on the problem themselves.  Some bosses may even be so scared of possible errors that they refuse to allow their direct reports to do their own critical thinking.  The end results are that leaders spend more of their time doing the work of those they’re supposed to be managing.

After looking at these studies about IQ levels and comparing that to the work people do, we could be compounding the issue of time management for ourselves AND affecting people’s abilities to solve complex issues in the future.

Food-for-thought: Think about the last time someone who reported to you came to you with an issue.  Did you simply say “I’ll handle it,” or did you act more as an assistant to help that person solve their own problem?

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  1. I agree with this 100% and have seen the impact of both.
    I have always believed this old adage, something about…
    Teaching someone to fish is better than giving them a fish.

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