- Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon says leadership is about learning to admit when you’re wrong and to change your point of view.
- Solomon shared that insight on the JJ Redick Podcast.
- He added that he’s a better listener today than he was 20 years ago, though he’s still learning how to adapt when he gets something wrong.
David Solomon became the CEO of Goldman Sachs in October 2018, after nearly 20 years with the firm. He previously served as president and chief operating officer.
On an episode of The JJ Redick Podcast, Solomon shared how his leadership style has evolved over time, as well as some advice for managers.
“I’d say I’m a much better listener at 57 than I was at 37,” Solomon told Redick. “I can be very strident, very opinionated, but I also change my mind. And I’m willing to change my mind and say that I’m wrong, even if I have been forceful about a point of view.”
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Solomon spoke more generally about leadership: “You will get some things right and you will get some things wrong. You’ve got to be willing to learn, change your view, be open, and you’ve got to figure out how to listen.”
Some experts agree that the willingness to change your mind is an important trait of a successful leader.
Al Pittampalli, the author of “Persuadable: How Great Leaders Change Their Minds to Change the World,” writes on Quartz that the most effective leaders “constantly question their own beliefs, welcome dissenting points of view, and are fully prepared to change their minds in the face of new evidence. They don’t particularly care if that makes them look less heroic.”
Meanwhile, on Inc., Marcel Schwantes writes that being humble is an important trait of a great leader. He writes, “Humble leaders speak three magical words that will produce more peace of mind and respect than a week’s worth of executive coaching with me: ‘I was wrong.’ And three more: ‘You are right.'”
On the podcast episode, Solomon said that a leader’s response to learning that they were mistaken is key. He said, “How you adapt and adjust to the things you get wrong is really important, how you respond to adversity is really important, and so there’s no right way. And I’m still learning.”