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Lesson from Red Hat's CEO: LISTEN.

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Julie Bort describes Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurt's philosophy:

Replace the word "boss" with the word "cheerleader."

Managers worry about innovation, "but a general hierarchy structure is fundamentally in conflict with getting the best and most creative solutions out of your people. Opinions matter more," says Whitehurst.

"The more senior people don't necessarily have the best ideas," he adds.

At Delta, "I would say something, people would say, 'Yes, sir!' When I first got here, I told people to go off and do something. Later I asked how it was going and people said, 'We didn't do it. We thought it was a dumb idea.' I thought, 'Should I be firing these people?' But they didn't think anything of it."

He quickly learned. "You can't lead a group of creative, passionate people [by saying] go do this," he explains. "I've got to be more of a catalyst. In some ways I'm a head cheerleader."

Management's job is to LISTEN.

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