A big part of that skill rests on her mastery of communication: Merkel doesn’t seek attention, but when she’s got it, she speaks the bitter truth—die bittere Wahrheit, in German—without being abrasive.
Example: Recently, she told a magazine that the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay “should not exist … on a permanent basis. Different ways of dealing with the prisoners must be found.”
If her predecessor—Gerhard Schroeder, a frequent critic of U.S. policy—had said that, White House officials would have popped a few veins. But because Merkel has clearly embraced America, her point was taken.
Lesson: Never mince words. As long as your intentions are goodhearted, people appreciate candor.
—Adapted from “Merkel will play a pragmatic hand in America,” Quentin Peel, Financial Times.