Empathy Is Still Lacking in the Leaders Who Need It Most

Many people and a host of commentators instinctively recoiled at the callous management practices described in a scathing New York Times article last month about Amazon. So did Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive. In a memo to Amazon employees, he wrote, “Our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.” He’s right, not only on humanitarian grounds but also for reasons that should appeal to a hard-headed businessman like him. At Amazon and other businesses, the “e-word” should be the watchword. For three years my colleagues and I at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism crisscrossed the U.S. and travelled to other n

Are you Blunt or Bluff?

We’ve all met aggressive people. They’re the ones who cut to the chase, bluntly stating their agenda almost to the point of intimidation until their own personal goals are met. Too many people believe that forceful and aggressive behavior is a necessary ingredient for financial success. The most successful and effective leaders that I have met have all had a softer approach. While they were not pushovers, they had the confidence and self-esteem to be open and honest, yet assertive, in communicating their and their organization’s needs. What happens when a business deal is conducted between two aggressive people? Surely an enormous waste of energy is expended as each promotes an agenda in a

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