Listen up

You’ve probably heard it countless times, to the point that it’s become something of a cliché: a good leader is a good listener.

But if those words are going in one ear and out the other, you’re doing exactly what you’re not supposed to do. You’re not listening. A good listener is an active listener who does more than prop open the office door and wait for employees to walk in. A good listener recognizes the cascading effect that internal communication has on client and customer relationships. And a good listener recognizes that inconsistent communication from the top can have damaging effects on morale and confidence throughout the organization.

Below is a sampling of three business leaders previously featured on the cover of Smart Business Philadelphia and what they believe it means to be a good listener and communicator.

John Soroko, chairman and CEO, Duane Morris LLP

John Soroko, chairman and CEO, Duane Morris LLP

“I decided to be a good listener. I’ve communicated that openness to our partnership, and there has been a largely positive response. To have meaningful client relationships in business, you have to realize that this is too big of a job for yourself alone. In this business, the key for me is, ‘Will my partners come through for me and treat my clients like their own in terms of giving them the most outstanding service they can?’”

John Soroko
chairman and CEO
Duane Morris LLP

Michael Carbone, regional president, metro Philadelphia, TD Bank

Michael Carbone, regional president, metro Philadelphia, TD Bank

“If you just dictate to people, they’re not going to feel good about it. Mostly, they’re just going to feel the pressure to get something done. If you create that kind of atmosphere, you’re not going to get the most thought-provoking responses. You’re going to get what they think they need to tell you, what they think you want to hear.”

Michael Carbone
regional president, metro Philadelphia
TD Bank

Vince Donnelly, president and CEO, PMA Capital Corp.

Vince Donnelly, president and CEO, PMA Capital Corp.

“People see through whether you are BSing or not. It’s a lesson I learned from my mom. She told me that there are some people in life who are two-faced. When things are going well, they act one way, but when things aren’t going well, they’re going to act a different way. People are looking for that honesty and consistency from you as a person. An effective leader is someone who is respected not just for their title but is respected as a person.”

Vince Donnelly
president and CEO
PMA Capital Corp.