Let Go, Listen, and Trust: Leadership Lessons from CBS Alumni

Attendees of Columbia Business School’s Pan-Euro Forum, held in Paris in October 2018, share the hard lessons they learned to become the leaders they are today.

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Ghassan Abou-Alfa ’16: Learning to listen is very critical before anything else.

Mark Collins ’91: There are so many tough leadership lessons – where do I begin?

Steve Fan ’08: You have to be confident. You have to know what you are going to do and you have to trust yourself, believe yourself.

Ghassan: You have to really make sure that really you kind of embrace other people’s thoughts and ideas.

Vivek Salgaocar ’13: One thing that I have learned is letting go when you have people around you that you trust who are competent, who are oftentimes faster, smarter, more experienced than you are.

Paulina Yick ’94: The toughest lessons to learn as business leaders are to really accept failures. Learn from it, and move forward.

Tina Saighal ’01: So the lesson I learned was that I had to enable the people that worked with me to find meaning in the work and align that with the vision that I had for the organization.

Anne Busquet ’78: Not to confuse trust and friendship.

Laszlo R. Czirjak ‘86: Standing up as a leader and knowing what’s the right thing to do. Setting the tone at the top is so important.

Mark Collins ’91: If I were to fault myself it’s that I am unwilling to make the hard decision recognizing that somebody really isn’t going to work out and I’ve always taken too long.

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