CEOs Need To Learn How To Be Wrong

Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty ImagesJeremy Zimmer, CEO of United Talent Agency, says leaders don’t always have to be right.

From an early age, Jeremy Zimmer says he “always felt like the boss.”

“For better or for worse, I’ve often felt that I have a sense of how we should be doing this,” the CEO and co-founder of United Talent Agency, a talent and literary agency, tells the New York Times. That confidence was something he worked hard to outgrow.

Midway through his career, Zimmer says he realised that his constant self-righteousness was impairing his progress rather than aiding it.

“I found myself in a place where, although I was a really good agent and a partner at the firm, my relationships with my colleagues were not good,” he recalls. “I felt like I was spending all my time either telling people what they were doing wrong, or thinking about what they were doing wrong.”

He turned to partners at the firm for advice, who counseled that leaders didn’t always need to know best. Little by little, Zimmer says he taught himself to be open to the notion that he was wrong or might not always have the answers.

“Part of growing up for me has been starting to know what I don’t know, and to stop thinking I’m a genius,” he says.

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