The Energizer

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Were "Soft Skills" Needed for NY Times editor Abramson?

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Friday, May 16, 2014
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Journalistic skill was not lacking according to USA TODAY ‘s reported dismissal of Jill Abramson’s as editor of the NY TIMES. According to Arthur Sulzberger, publisher and chair of The NY Times Co, ”We had an issue with management in the newsroom.” Umm. Issue with management?

She DID guide the organization into the paper’s aggressive shift toward digital content and grew the company in circulation revenue. Umm. Skilled journalist. Grew revenue. Dismissed? The article went on to note that her replacement, Dean Baquet, is liked for his engaging personality and rapport with staffers. The paper quoted an editor from The Times - Picayune“  as a manager, he’s a rare combination of inspiring, empathetic and even-keeled. He knows instinctively how to respond to journalistic news….”

Every leader needs to read that sentence again: As a manager, he’s a rare combination of inspiring, empathetic and even-keeled. He knows instinctively how to respond to journalistic news….”   It’s not enough to have skill at the job. It is essential to understand the hardest part of any business: the people.

Soft skills remain essential for resilient leadership. It’s an issue I have been preaching and teaching for years. This is just one more example. Something to think about. PS: When he addressed the staff after the announcement yesterday. Baquet received a minute-long round of applause from the employees.

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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

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Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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