August 20, 2017

UPS CEO Explains Why Listening is So Important to Leaders


UPS CEO Explains Why Leaders Should Listen

Successful leaders are often heralded for their ability to talk. But there’s at least one CEO who credits his success with another important skill — listening.

David Abney, Chairman and CEO of UPS (NYSE:UPS) recently shared more about his leadership experience and how listening to others has made such a crucial impact on the success of the company.



One of the first things Abney did upon being named CEO was to go on a worldwide listening tour. He let the company’s employees and customers tell him what they thought the company should focus on going forward. And he actually took that information to heart.

Small businesses can learn a lot from this tactic. And you don’t even need to travel around the world to listen to your own customers or team members.

Why Leaders Should Listen

By simply giving your employees an avenue to bring you new ideas, you could find a way to improve your company’s processes that you simply didn’t think of on your own. And if you survey customers or are open to discussions with them on social media, you might discover a potential new product line that customers are clamoring for.

The top reason why leaders should listen is this: if you focus only on your own expertise, you could really be missing out on some great ideas. But if you’re open to hearing input from those around you, you open up your small business to a host of new opportunities.

Image: UPS

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Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

2 Reactions

  1. I am a UPS employee and remember when David did this as our new CEO. The impression he made among our employees was overwhelmingly positive. And when he issued a call for ideas, many of which were actually implemented, it was almost earth shattering. Many employees said they couldn’t believe our leadership was finally listening and taking action on recommendations. To me, that was almost a shame because listening to your people and implementing their ideas are not examples of rocket science. They are basic things every leader should do that will not only push your teams and organization forward but provide a constant avenue for employee engagement.

    • Annie Pilon

      I agree – it should be a basic tenant of leadership. Thanks so much for sharing your experience – it’s great to have the perspective of someone inside the organization!

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