Jeff Bezos Reveals Why He Speaks Last in the Meeting
Discover how Amazon's Jeff Bezos enhances team creativity and decision-making by choosing to speak last in meetings – a leadership lesson for all.
Bezos believes that when the most senior person in the room speaks first, it can unduly influence the discussion. His experience has shown that even the most opinionated and intelligent individuals may second-guess their own thoughts if they contradict the views expressed by someone in a position of authority. By speaking last, Bezos ensures he hears unfiltered opinions and ideas from his team members.
This practice encourages a more open and honest exchange of ideas and prevents the suppression of alternative viewpoints that might arise from the authority bias.
His approach is not just about when to speak, but also about the importance of listening. Being a good listener is more than just hearing words; it's about understanding, empathising, and withholding judgment.
This is a challenging skill to develop but is essential for personal growth and effective leadership. By listening to others before expressing his own views, Bezos demonstrates that he values the opinions and insights of his team members. This practice not only fosters a more collaborative environment but also allows for a wider range of ideas to be considered, which can be vital in decision-making processes.
Bezos's method also underlines the importance of allowing ideas to emerge organically within a team. When leaders wait and let others speak first, they might find that their own ideas are echoed by others. This can empower team members, as they feel their contributions are valued and that they are part of the decision-making process. Moreover, when leaders speak last, they have the advantage of synthesising all the viewpoints presented and then adding their own insights, which can lead to more well-rounded and thoughtful decisions.
In essence, Jeff Bezos's practice of speaking last in meetings is not just a meeting strategy; it’s a leadership philosophy. It emphasizes the value of every team member's input, fosters a culture of open communication, and promotes a more inclusive decision-making process. This approach can be beneficial not just in business settings but also in personal and social situations, where effective communication and understanding are key.