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为什么远见卓识者往往不近人情?

更新时间:2015-7-27 10:11:18 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Bad Behavior of Visionary Leaders
为什么远见卓识者往往不近人情?

As I was reading Ashlee Vance’s “Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” I was alternately awed and disheartened, almost exactly the same ambivalence I felt after reading Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” and Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.”

最近,我读了阿什利·范斯(Ashlee Vance)的传记作品《埃隆·马斯克:特斯拉、Space X与探索美好未来》。在阅读过程中,我时而感到惊讶,时而感到沮丧,这种矛盾心理和我之前阅读沃尔特·艾萨克森(Walter Isaacson)的《乔布斯传》(Steve Jobs)与布拉德·斯通(Brad Stone)的《万货商店:杰夫·贝索斯和亚马逊时代》(The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon)的感觉几乎一模一样。

The three leaders are arguably the most extraordinary business visionaries of our times. Each of them has introduced unique products that changed – or in Mr. Musk’s case, have huge potential to change – the way we live.

这三位领导者都称得上是当今商业领域最有远见卓识的人。他们都推出了一些独特的产品,改变了——或以马斯克而言,有极大的潜力去改变——我们的生活方式。

I was awed by the innovative, courageous, persistent and creative ways all three built their businesses. I also love their products. I own a Mac Pro and an iPhone, and I have been a loyal customer of Apple for 20 years. I buy many books and other products on Amazon, lured by a blend of low prices, ease of purchase and reliably quick delivery. The Tesla X is hands down the best car I have ever driven, and it’s all electric, rechargeable in your garage.

他们在商业领域展现出的创新精神、勇气、执着与创造性令我敬畏。我也十分喜爱他们的产品。我有一台Mac Pro电脑和一台iPhone,二十年来,我一直都是苹果的忠实客户。我在亚马逊上买了许多图书和其他产品,他们低廉的价格、轻松的购买方式和快捷可靠的运送服务深深吸引着我。而特斯拉的S型电动车无疑是我开过的最好的轿车,而且它是全电动的,可以在你的车库中充电。

Plainly, I have bought in to what these guys are selling.

毫无疑问,我算得上是他们产品的忠实用户。

What disheartens me is how little care and appreciation any of them give (or in Mr. Jobs’s case, gave) to hard-working and loyal employees, and how unnecessarily cruel and demeaning they could be to the people who helped make their dreams come true.

然而令我沮丧的是,对于那些努力工作、忠心耿耿、帮助他们实现了梦想的员工,他们却吝于关爱和感激,表现出毫无必要的残酷,这无疑有损于他们的人格。

In fairness, the leaders all have loyal defenders. At Apple, for example, Mr. Jobs’s successors – including Tim Cook, the chief executive, and Jonathan Ive, the chief design officer – have argued that Mr. Jobs matured significantly as a leader in his final years. Mr. Musk and Mr. Bezos have senior leaders who have worked with them for many years. But even an admirer like Mr. Ive remained bewildered by the way Mr. Jobs treated people.

当然,这些领袖人物都有忠实的捍卫者。例如在苹果公司,乔布斯的继任者——包括首席执行官蒂姆·库克(Tim Cook)和首席设计师乔纳森·伊夫(Jonathan Ive)——都认为他最后几年已成为一名相当成熟的领导者。马斯克与贝索斯也都有许多共事多年的工作伙伴。但即便作为乔布斯的崇拜者,伊夫对他为人处世的方式也依然多有不解。

“He’s a very sensitive guy,” Mr. Ive told Mr. Isaacson shortly before Mr. Jobs died in 2011. “That’s one of the things that makes his antisocial behavior, his rudeness, so unconscionable. I can understand why people who are thick-skinned and unfeeling can be rude, but not sensitive people.”

“他是个非常敏感的人,”2011年乔布斯去世前不久,伊夫对艾萨克森说。“他的反社会行为和粗鲁态度部分是由此造成的。这实在是不合情理。我可以理解为什么厚颜无耻又麻木不仁的人会很粗鲁,但不明白为什么敏感的人也是如此。”

Given the extraordinary success of these men, the obvious question is whether being relentlessly hard on people, and even cruel, may get them to perform better.

鉴于这些人取得的巨大成就,有这样的疑问也是顺理成章的——是否正因为他们对人无情,甚至残酷,所以才表现得更加出色。

Like their biographers, I think the answer is no. Our research at the Energy Project has shown that the more employees feel their needs are being met at work – above all, for respect and appreciation – the better they perform.

我和那些传记作者一样,都认为并非如此。我们在“能量计划领导力训练”(Energy Project)中的研究证明,员工在工作中的需要——尤其是尊重与赞赏的需要——如果得到了更多的满足,那么他们的工作表现也就越好。

As Mr. Isaacson writes of Mr. Jobs: “Nasty was not necessary. It hindered him more than it helped him.”

正如艾萨克森在写到乔布斯时所说:“大可不必去招人厌恶。这一点对他的阻碍远大于对他的帮助。”

Similarly, a person who worked with Mr. Musk told Mr. Vance: “He can be so gentle and loyal, and then hard on people when it isn’t necessary.”

与此相似的是,一位曾与马斯克共事的人对范斯说:“他可以那么温和忠诚,但在某些不必要的时候,却又对人那么严苛。”

At Amazon, Mr. Bezos’s angry outbursts came to be called “nutters.” “He was capable of hyperbole and cruelty in these moments,” Mr. Stone writes, “and over the years delivered some devastating rebukes to employees.”

而在亚马逊,人们把贝索斯的怒气爆发称为“癫狂发作”。“每当此时,他就变得非常夸张,而且冷酷无情,”斯通写道。“而且这些年来,他对员工做出过一些相当令人难堪的指责。”

Why would otherwise brilliant men behave in such destructive ways?

为什么这些才华横溢的人在另一方面却如此不近人情呢?

The first answer is that they can. Genius covers a lot of sins. A great product is a great product, and you don’t have to do everything right to be successful. Most customers don’t care how the sausage gets made, as long as it tastes good.

答案显而易见,他们有本钱这样做。才华掩盖了许许多多的罪恶。伟大的产品就是伟大的产品,而且你并不需要事事都做对才能取得成功。大多数客户根本不在乎香肠是怎样做出来的,只要吃起来美味就行了。

Employees, in turn, are willing to sacrifice a lot to work for a visionary. Much as Mr. Jobs was, Mr. Musk and Mr. Bezos are passionate, inspiring and charismatic leaders.

另一方面,员工们也愿意任劳任怨地为有远见的领导者工作。大多数这样的领导者,比如乔布斯、马斯克和贝索斯,都是一些有热情、有想法、有魅力的领导人。

“Numerous people interviewed for this book decried the work hours, Musk’s blunt style and his sometimes ludicrous expectations,” Mr. Vance wrote. “Yet almost every person – even those who had been fired – still worshiped Musk and talked about him in terms usually reserved for superheroes or deities.

“书中许多接受了采访的人都抱怨过工作时间、马斯克的生硬作风和偶尔荒唐可笑的期望,”范斯写道。“但几乎每个人,甚至那些被炒鱿鱼的人,都依然崇拜马斯克,而且谈论起他来,就像在谈英雄人物或神话传说。”

Finally, a certain level of financial success and the resulting power effectively excuse those who achieve it from the ordinary rules of civility and even humanity.

最终,他们在经济上所取得的成功以及由此而来的权力,让他们可以堂而皇之地摆脱常人的行为规范,甚至显得不够人道。

Mr. Jobs drove around without a license on his car, and he regularly parked in spaces reserved for the handicapped. As Mr. Ive said of his attitude, “I think he feels he has a liberty and a license to do that. The normal rules of social engagement, he feels, don’t apply to him.”

乔布斯生前经常开车不带驾照,而且总是在残障人士的专用车位上泊车。正如伊夫谈到乔布斯的态度时说的那样,“我想,他觉得自己有自由也被允许那样做。他觉得普通的社会规则对他并不适用。”

Amazon employees collected examples of Mr. Bezos’s most eviscerating put-downs, including, “Are you lazy or just incompetent?” “Why are you wasting my life?” and “I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”

亚马逊的员工们曾收集过贝索斯的一些最伤人的话,其中包括“你是懒惰还是没有能力?”“你为什么要浪费我的生命?”以及“不好意思,我今天吃了脑残片吗?”

When Mr. Musk’s loyal executive assistant of 12 years asked for a significant raise, he told her to take a two-week vacation while he thought about it. When she returned, he told her the relationship wasn’t going to work anymore. According to Mr. Vance, they haven’t spoken since.

而为马斯克忠心耿耿工作了十二年的一名行政助理在谋求升职时,被告知可以先去度两周的假,让他好好想一想。但等她回来之后,马斯克却告诉她,他们之间已经没法再合作下去了。据范斯写,他俩从此后半句话都没说过。

Abusive as all this sounds, I would argue that most of the bad behavior of these men is fear-based, impulsive and reactive rather than consciously hurtful. It grows not out of a sense of superiority but rather of insecurity.

尽管这些行为听起来匪夷所思,但我始终认为,他们大多数的恶劣行径都是出于害怕、冲动和应激反应,而不是有意伤人。这样的行为并非源自优越感,而是源自不安全感。

Some of my data, unfortunately, is my own experience. I spent most of my early adulthood relentlessly seeking to prove my worth and worrying that I would forever fall short. I have spent my recent years far more focused on trying to become a caring and encouraging leader. Even so, I know well the anxious feeling that can arise when a deal is coming undone, a project isn’t gelling or an employee seems to be falling short. I know how frightening it can be to feel out of control.

我之所以这样说是因为我很不幸深有体会。我早年的大部分时间一直在冷酷无情地谋求证明自我价值,在忐忑不安地害怕自己始终达不到要求。近年来,我已经花了很多时间来努力让自己变成一位关心他人、鼓励他人的领导者。但是我很清楚,一旦交易无法达成、项目不能融洽、或者员工达不到要求,我就会产生一种焦虑的感觉。我知道事情如果失控会有多么可怕。

People like these three visionaries deeply crave control. Each of them was far more likely to act out suddenly and behave poorly when he wasn’t getting exactly what he wanted — when he felt that others were failing to live up to his standards.

和他们三人一样眼光长远的人都很想控制局面。如果事情的结果与他们想要的有出入,或者说,如果他们觉得其他人没有达到他们的标准,那他们极有可能会忽然发作,或者表现相当恶劣。

All three invested endless hours and energy in building and running their businesses — and far less in anything else, including taking care of the people who worked for them or even understanding what doing so might look like. To a large extent, people were simply a means to an end.

这三位领导者投入了无数的时间与精力来打造和经营他们的事业,因而远远忽略了其他的事情,包括忽略了对员工的关心,他们甚至不明白这样做会是什么样子。在很大程度上,那些人只不过是他们达到目标的一种手段。

I understand what it is like to have one’s self entirely tied up with external success. No amount is ever quite enough. To a large extent, for these men, employees are simply a means to an end.

我很理解一个人被外在的成功束缚会怎么样。做得再多都不够。

The question their management style raises is not whether being tough, harsh and relentlessly demanding gets people to work better. Of course it doesn’t, and certainly not sustainably. Can anyone truly doubt that people are more productive in workplaces that help them to be healthier and happier?

由于他们的管理风格而引起的这个问题并不是在问,那种强硬、粗鲁且冷酷无情的态度是否会让人把工作做得更好。肯定不会,而且肯定无法良性循环。有谁会不相信员工在更加健康而快乐的工作环境中会更有生产力呢?

The more apt question is how much more these men could have enhanced thousands of people’s lives – and perhaps made them even more successful — if they had invested as much in taking care of them as they did in conceiving great products.

所以,人们应该问的是,如果这些领导者对员工所投入的关怀,和他们在构思伟大产品时所投入的精力一样多,那他们是否会让无数人生活得更好,也许还会让他们更成功。

“Try not to become a man of success,” Albert Einstein once said, “but rather a man of value.”

“还是不要当成功的人吧,”阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦曾经说,“不如做个有价值的人。”

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