Friday, November 13, 2009

Listening Leaders

In an interview with Drew Gilpin Faust, the Harvard president talks about leadership, changes she made at the University of Pennsylvania where she gained her early leadership legs. In a Sunday Times interview she has with reporter Adam Bryant, listening is one of the qualities that she attributes to her success as a leader.

She says, "I spend a huge amount of time reaching out to people, either literally or digitally . . . An enormous amount of my job is listening to people, to understand where they are, how they see the world so I can understand how to mobilize their understanding of themselves in service of the institution."

The part of the interview I appreciate the most is her answer to a follow-up prompt "But you can't make everybody happy." She responds with "No, you don't make everybody happy, but if people feel they were listened to, they're going to be much more likely to go along with a decision."

Excellent advice.