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You are right, but only up to a certain point. There are several examples of great leaders who weren't technical or subject matter experts (SME's).

FDR knew next to nothing about economics but he lead our country out of the Great Depression. Winston Churchill was not a military strategist, but he stood-up and held strong against the Germans in WWII.

Likewise there are great Coaches who never played professionally, great orchestra conductors who can't play wind instruments and great Movie Directors who couldn't act to save their lives.

It helps to be an SME, but being an SME is not necessarily a prerequisite to being a great leader.

Reminds me of a story about Thomas Keller of the French Laundry in Michael Ruhlmann's The Soul of a Chef. Keller insists that his kitchen workers wash off the bottle of olive oil after they use it. (Paraphrasing here) "Imagine if oil from an unwashed bottle got onto someone's finger and ended up as a fingerprint on a plate sent out to a table." When the goal is perfection, either at Nascar or at the French Laundry, you need to do everything possible to reduce the risk of imperfection, no matter the cost.

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