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Know When To Listen

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If you’ve ever been to a startup conference or pitchfest, you’ve seen it — the ultra-aggressive, non-stop talker, know-it-all entrepreneur.  This Type A personality wants to constantly convince anyone who’ll listen that his product is superior, the market opportunity is endless, and his company is going to break into profitability very soon.  Here’s the bandwagon — jump on!

While that high energy personality and endless optimism is wonderful, the most successful entrepreneurs know when to talk and, more importantly know when to listen.

In a recent Inc article, Molly Reynolds hit the nail on the head by sharing one of the best qualities of a leader is to be a listener. She shared four reasons why great listeners make the best leaders.  CEOs who listen to their staff are able to:

  1. Anticipate potential problems and fix them:  Management usually is the last to know when a problem is percolating.  Listen to those on the front lines — they usually have insight into a problem before it becomes “unfixable”.  We write about that here.
  2. Show their staff that they are cared for, which builds trust and loyalty:  Building a sense of community within your company is important.  We’ve written about this topic here.
  3. Open creative channels by giving informed advice for better productivity
  4. Maintain an efficient line of communication, so the business runs more smoothly:  Everyone wants to be heard.  That doesn’t mean all employee suggestions need to be acted-upon.  Instead they need to be acknowledged.  If employee communication falls on deaf ears, it is likely to stop.