Leadership is Not About Being the Most Intelligent Person in the Room


Leadership is Not About Being the Most Intelligent Person in the Room

By David Zgambo
This photo is from May 1st 2011, the White House Situation Room—Barack Obama receiving live updates from a military operation that killed Osama bin Laden. If you didn’t know Obama, you wouldn’t tell who the President is in this picture—he surrendered the head seat to the Military experts in a remarkable demonstration of leadership.

Another president would’ve taken over the show and talked until Osama Bin Ladin got away.

Great leaders aren’t know-it-alls who continuously try to outshine everyone. Instead, they admit when they don’t know, and genuinely let those who do take charge.

It’s not about being the smartest person in the room. It’s about building a team with the most intelligent people you can find, and that’s one thing Barack Obama was very good at as President.


  1. Leadership is a topic of serious academic inquiry and there’s now lots of literature on the subject. Political Leadership is just one branch of leadership. There are many leadersips out there. There’s business leadership, sporting leadership, military leadership, academic leadership, etc. In politics, too often the skills you need to win an election are not so useful in actually governing a country. It’s therefore important to recognise this distinction.


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