It seems like there is a semantics play-off here but in reality this is a good question.

Here is why I am posing it- a common comment I hear from companies is, “He is really intelligent but the audience can’t comprehend what he is saying.”  So if you are intelligent but no one can take action on what you say, are you really effective? And if power is in the application of knowledge but no one can apply your knowledge, do you really have power at all?

The answer is no.  The most effective leaders are not the ones who are the most intelligent; they are the leaders that are smart.  They are smart in business and they are smart in common sense.  They know when to pull the plug and when to take risk.

It intrigues me how I have never found a top leader describe themself as intelligent but many will use the word smart.  There are different applications and implications by both words.  I find too many corporations spend too much money and time on people they see as brilliant or intelligent but who create chaos behind them because no one can understand what they are to do or when to do it.

So when you are hiring, go for the person who is smart, high in EQ, and willing to grow and stretch.     



Leadership Development

Sept 23, 2010 at 1:00 CST

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