One of the things we talk about a lot at Aperio is that great leaders are great listeners. I am a fan of “Corner Office,” a feature in the New York Times written by Adam Bryant. I noticed recently how almost every CEO interviewed talks in some form about the crucial value of listening to excellent leadership. For example, in yesterday’s column, Meridee Moore, founder of Watershed Asset Management, describes how one of her most important leadership lessons came from a summer job that showed her the value of connecting to people from varied backgrounds who hold different perspectives in order to get the best answers to business issues. (Click here for the column)
Last week, Tachi Yamada, M.D., President of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program, commented that one of his most important lessons came from observing a fellow physician who showed him by example that “when you are with somebody you’ve got to make that person feel like nobody else in the world matters.” As a result, Yamada keeps his cell phone turned off whenever he meets with people so that he can focus completely on them. (Click here for the column)
The week prior, Jana Eggers, CEO of Spreadshirt, had a comic take on the same topic. One of her favorite t-shirt sayings is “I know something you don’t know.” To her it is a good reminder to listen to other people “because the other side of that saying is, you know something I don’t know.” (Click here for the column)
What strikes me is that although each of these CEO’s has a unique slant of why listening is so important, they all share a strong conviction that listening well is crucial to their success in their roles as business leaders.