Sometimes it’s easy to get so focused on a person’s measurable skills that we forget the importance of what talent scouts call the “intangibles” — attributes that are difficult to define and measure, but that are no less important to a team.

In ministry, intangibles can include effort, maturity, innate leadership, emotional intelligence, teachability, character, team attitude, and rate of learning. Again, intangibles are hard to assess but that does not mean they don’t have an impact on the organization. In fact, intangibles can be just as important as talent. Sometimes it’s better to hire someone whose very presence makes everyone around them better, than the most technically skilled candidate.

Leaders with intangibles exemplify the message of old commercials for global chemical corporation BASF: “We don’t make [the product], we make [the product] better.”

When you’re building a team, what are the intangibles you look for?


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