John de Forte takes a sideways look at the world of professional services marketing. This issue: everyone agrees empathy is an indispensable interpersonal skill. It should be a writing skill, too.

Empathy is all the rage. To succeed in any high-profile position, it seems you need not only to be able to communicate effectively but also to show you care. Or to put it more specifically, to show you are sharing the experience of anyone who thinks they or the world are suffering from the consequences of your decisions. It applies to politicians, chief executives, union bosses, public service leaders and many others. One could form the impression that the holders of these jobs have been appointed more because of their ability to emote appropriately than for their proficiency in doing whatever they’ve been appointed to do.

With empathy so widely recognised as a must-have quality for anyone with a profile to manage, it is only natural that some may use it – or something resembling it – to cover up mistakes or avoid unwanted scrutiny.

Log in to read more