Over the last decade or so, scientists have documented a funny effect that happens as soon as people feel a little powerful.
They lose the ability to take others’ perspective, meaning they have a harder time understanding how others are seeing, thinking, and feeling.
That’s unfortunate, given that research also suggests powerful people make better decisions when they display the ability to see things from their underlings’ point of view.
A recent interview with billionaire John Paul DeJoria, highlighted by Ramit Sethi, adds some potential nuance to these findings, suggesting that great leadership is also about taking the perspective of the customer.
DeJoria is the cofounder of both John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patrón tequila, and he’s accumulated decades of leadership experience.
When interviewer Joe Polish asked him about the key characteristics of the best leaders, DeJoria highlighted empathy. Specifically, he talked about the ability to think beyond the needs of you and your staff:
A great leader doesn’t look at, “What am I going to get out of this?” The great leader looks at, “What’s the entire team going to get out of this?” and, “How does this benefit the end customer, not just me and my team? How do they benefit more than anybody else?” And when you have that mindset, it’s easy to move ahead.
It may not be easy to take a walk in someone else’s shoes — but if DeJoria’s success is any indication, it could be worth the effort.
You can listen to the full interview on Sethi’s website.
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