Smarts does not equal good leadership skills

Consider the following:

Valerie Jarrett, quoted in “The Bridge” by David Remnick:

“I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. … He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability — the extraordinary, uncanny ability — to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them, and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. … So what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy. … He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.”

President Obama, in Thursday’s news conference:

“OK. On the website, I was not informed directly that the website would not be working as — the way it was supposed to. Had I been informed, I wouldn’t be going out saying, boy, this is going to be great. You know, I’m accused of a lot of things, but I don’t think I’m stupid enough to go around saying, this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity, a week before the website opens, if I thought that it wasn’t going to work.”

Two of 11 “leadership principles” from U.S. Marine Corps non-commissioned-officer leadership training:

• Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.

• Ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished.


The smartest man in the universe lacks the leadership knowledge required of a 19-year-old NCO.

R.L. “Rube” Render


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