INSTANT MBA: Good Leaders Are Great Listeners

Business Insider

Today's advice comes from Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, via his post on LinkedIn:

"We have two ears and one mouth, using them in proportion is not a bad idea! To be a good leader you have to be a great listener. Brilliant ideas can spring from the most unlikely places, so you should always keep your ears open for some shrewd advice. This can mean following online comments as closely as board meeting notes, or asking the frontline staff for their opinions as often as the CEOs. Get out there, listen to people, draw people out and learn from them."

Branson says there is a difference between hearing what someone is saying and actually listening to them. Listening means you are taking their point of view into account and truly considering what they have to say. It's important to not just lend an ear to a fellow co-worker or employee but to also set aside time to interact with them and get to know who you're working with. Branson says having fun with your colleagues also factors into his formula for success.

"If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business is a chore, then it's time to try something else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will flourish. A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life."

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