Careers, personal brands, and fortunes are destroyed every day. A growing factor is this: The professional is nasty. In such a Darwinian new world we simply won't put up with nasty professionals. We need nice, at least nice-enough. Eventually we will get the nasty. And we have learned to be patient.
Take former head of Lehman Brothers Dick Fuld. As Joshua Green reports in BLOOMBERG BUSINESS WEEK, Fuld himself admits he is the most hated man in America. Here you can read that obituary for a high flyer who probably won't be allowed a comeback.
On the other hand, Bill Clinton, who's not nasty, has been able to engineer major returns to influence. Along the way he has been permitted to amass a personal fortune. Anthony Weiner seems on the nasty side so we don't have high hopes for much. Of course he could change. And that's what executive coaches should be teaching these days: the power of not-nasty.
In easier times, nasty didn't get to us, at least not as much. There were so many security blankets. For example, family and friends had the time and energy to address our emotional boo-boos. Now we know damn well to choose our shots in seeking kindness, or even wisdom. If we ask for too much we risk getting the response, "I can't handle this."
For months, even years we will put up with the nasty professionals for Fuld. We watch how they are alienating through their nastiness. Then sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly they lose it all. The satisfaction we feel individually and collectively is profound. Nice guys may not finish first. But they are allowed to stay in the game.