Byron Wien and Leadership Lessons Not to Be Taken For Granted

meetingWhenever speaking in front of corporate groups or to my students I’m often taken aback by the cynical sneer of the empiricist who speaks only of the bottom line and dismisses what he or she calls the “softer skills.”

Sometimes it’s hard to convey to the cynic that his or her aspiration to achieve the empirical bottom line is dependent on what they just dismissed as “soft skills.”

Leadership, in the final analysis, is about our relationship to people and our relationship to ourselves. In many ways, it is these so called “soft skills” that make hard achievements possible. The most of pragmatic of leaders never take for granted self-awareness, self development, and interpersonal relationships.

A friend recently sent me a piece by Byron Wien, Vice Chairman of Blackstone Advisory Partners LP who accentuates this point. Who better to legitimize the importance of focusing on others and yourself than an individual who has spent so much time in what can be referred to as an empirically driven business?

I encourage you to read Life’s Lessons not only for the specific points it raises, but also for the message it sends out to those who believe in the false divide between soft skills of self-awareness and interpersonal relations and the hard skills of business and economics.

The message that Wien delivers is that leadership demands both.

Read Wien’s piece here.


Samuel B. Bacharach

I'm a professor at Cornell University's Institute for Workplace Studies in NYC. I write about the importance of proactive leadership in the office..(read more)


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