The Signs of a Leader’s Empathy Deficit Disorder

When attention flows along power lines, empathy also takes a hit. When strangers told each other about divorces or other painful moments in their lives, there was more empathy expressed by the less powerful person.

Another measure of empathy – the accuracy with which we can tell a person’s feelings from clues like facial expression – also turns out to differ, with lower status people more skilled than those of higher positions.

This fact of social life poses a danger for leaders – after all, the most effective leaders are outstanding at abilities that build on empathy, like persuasion and influence, motivating and listeningteamwork and collaboration.