Why it’s (often) better to be confident than smart


MPW Insider is one of several online communities where the biggest names in business answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: Career-wise, is it more important to be smart or confident? is written by Sally Blount, Dean of Kellogg School of Management.

Being confident trumps being smart. Obviously there is a threshold of both required in a senior leader, but once you pass that threshold, in my mind confidence wins — hands down. That’s because the best leaders know what they know and what they don’t know. They are crystal clear on where their own gaps in knowledge are. Their job is to confidently build and lead a senior team that aggregates all the smarts their organization needs

As Phebe Novakovic, CEO of General Dynamics, recently said to students in my class on leadership at Kellogg, “Don’t let anybody take away your confidence.” Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing…

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