How Becoming A Good Listener Can Make You A Better Leader


Running a business is an inherently emotional experience. Even the most stoic leaders are bound to find themselves becoming invested not only in outcomes, but in people and processes as well.

While emotional leadership is often regarded as a liability, lack of personal investment can also bring about negative outcomes.

I’ve learned that the best leaders are those who can recognize emotionally-charged situations, rise above the passions of the movement, and maintain a level head. Good leaders are quick to listen and slow to anger.

Listen first

As much as we work to avoid it, all leaders inevitably run into situations outside of their control. Its an inescapable aspect of running a business—clients, employees, partners, and your product will regularly push you to the very edge of your patience.

While it can be easy to fly off the handle or make a snap decision, I’ve learned that slowing down to listen can help defuse even the most frustrating of situations.

Early on at BodeTree, I was notorious for getting incredibly frustrated with our software development process. We would outline a task that needed to be completed by a certain date, set a timeline, and get to work. However, without fail, the timeline would come and go, and we would have little to nothing to show for it.

Over time, I came to find out that the features I was asking for weren’t as simple and straightforward as I thought. Much of what I was looking to accomplish was dependent on older code that needed to be updated before we could move forward—hence the delays.

My team didn’t always know this was the case until they were neck-deep in the project, causing things to slow down and timelines to slip. Once I stopped and listened to their needs, I realized we needed to set better internal expectations and manage projects more effectively. Had I refused to listen and instead chosen the path of brute force, I would never have been able to help the team move forward.

Chris Myers is the Cofounder and CEO of BodeTree and the author of Enlightened Entrepreneurship.

Isler Northwest LLC is a firm of certified public accountants and business advisors based in Portland, Oregon. Our local, regional, and global resources, our expertise, and our emphasis on innovative solutions and continuity creates value for our clients. Our service goals at Isler NW is to earn our clients’ trust as their primary business and financial advisors.

Isler Northwest

(503) 224-5321

1300 SW 5th Avenue
Suite 2900
Portland, Oregon 97201