How Smart Do You Need to Be?

How importance is intelligence to ministry? Political columnist David Broder wrote a fascinating column recently about presidents and intelligence, called Good Time for a Brainy President. He’s arguing that given the complicated nature of the economic challenges we face, Obama’s intelligence is a good thing.

Yet Broder makes some other interesting points in the article. He says that intelligence is not the most important quality for a president, and the brightest presidents have not necessarily had the biggest impact. More important overall, he says, are: “Self-confidence, curiosity, an eye for talent, the ability to communicate, a temperament that invites collaboration — all these and more rank higher on the list of desirable presidential traits.”

To be a capable leader in ministry, you do need to have some smarts. But the ability to connect with followers emotionally, to work with people, to manage self in relation to others — these are equally important. Broder doesn’t include emotional maturity per se on his list, but I do. And a number of his qualities are an outgrowth of that basic maturity.

What have you noticed in yourself or others about the relation between brain power and ministry?

2 replies on “How Smart Do You Need to Be?

  • Rebecca Maccini

    I believe there is ‘brain power’ and then there is ‘brain power.’ Someone I greatly respect said about someone who was very bright but was not thinking clearly in a very emotionally charged situation, “Just because you are very smart doesn’t mean you have common sense.” I think that the emotionaly maturity is related to having ‘sense’ in situations. Knowing when to respond, knowing then to hold back or take a different tactic, are all part of using your brain in situations. I think that is especially true in leadership.


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