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Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders? A Better Way to Evaluate Leadership Potential by Jay Moran, Jeffrey Cohn

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THE IMPORTANCE OF EMPATHY

In her book Team of Rivals, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin recounts how Abraham Lincoln once advised temperance advocates to avoid using too much vitriol when denouncing drinkers. People who took to whiskey, Lincoln knew, wouldn't respond well to that, and the result would be denunciation met with denunciation, “crimination with crimination and anathema with anathema,” he wrote. Instead, if reformers wanted their opinion to count, they needed to see things from the other side's perspective. Lincoln had learned that when people are “shunned and despised,” they naturally retreat into themselves, closing off all avenues to their hearts and heads. “Such is man, and so must he be understood by those ...

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