What does it mean to be an authentic leader who listens and gives direction successfully? In this candid interview, Senior Vice President and Chief Learning Officer of SAP Jenny Dearborn shares the moment she first met with Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP. In less than an hour she walked away impressed with his unique leadership style. Discover the essence of great leadership in three steps.
1) Listen deeply. Bill opened this meeting by telling the team they were the leaders. "What do I need to know? What's working? What's not working? How can I help you?"
2) Reiterate what you've heard. Bill ran through all the points the team discussed and said, "Here's what I've heard in this hour." This helped the team collaborate more effectively and stay on the same page.
3) Take action. Bill sent a summary of the meeting promptly and made sure to follow up to help the team execute on the items discussed.
I have met Bill several times and I agree with Jenny that he has that rare ability to inspire people and line them up behind his vision. His openness and generosity make people feel lucky to be part of his team.
I want to thank Jenny for taking the time to share this story with me on camera. She is also an impressive leader and has an energy level that many executives would envy. Jenny has been a presenter on the main stage at two Sales 2.0 Conferences where she has shared great insight on the topic of sales enablement. I'm pleased to say our editorial team is working on a cover story about Jenny that we will publish in Selling Power magazine next year. Keep an eye out for it.
What do you think makes a great leader? Share your thoughts in the comments section.