What makes a good leader: strength or smarts?

When it comes to leadership, we're quite picky on who we let govern us.

  • Research suggests that human beings are equipped for, and even prefer, a kind of mild hierarchy.
  • However, there is a certain alchemy behind successful leaders. For instance, we don't want leaders that are too powerful or too autocratic or are too able to impose punishment on ourselves.
  • The best leaders foster connections, friendships, and cooperation among their subordinates.
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  • What distinguishes humans is social learning — and teaching.
  • Crucial to learning and teaching is the value of free expression.
  • And we need political leaders who support environments of social peace and cooperation.


Why we prefer people just like us. And why that may be dangerous.

In general, birds of a feather do tend to flock together.

  • It's common for people to form groups of like minded individuals who also have similar abilities.
  • Evolution confers advantages on heterogeneous groups of people and groups with diverse talent sets.
  • Prizing individual identity ahead of group identity also helps counteract tribalistic politics.