Dear Brit: 'Who Do You Learn From When You're the "Boss"?'
The four places Brit Morin looks to for inspiration.
Brit Morin was 25 when she left Google to start Brit + Co, a lifestyle and education company aimed at helping women cultivate creative confidence. Now — 10 years, $50 million in funding and 1.2 billion pageviews later — Brit’s passion is empowering more women to take the entrepreneurial leap. She’s a managing partner at VC fund Offline Ventures, host of iHeartRadio podcast Teach Me Something New, creator of Selfmade, a 10-week start-your-own-business course for women founders, and most recently — Entrepreneur advice columnist. Find her here answering the most personal and pressing questions of women entrepreneurs.
Have a question for Brit? Email it to email@example.com, and she could answer it in an upcoming column!
Q. Who do you learn from when you’re the “boss”?
That’s a good one! I’m a very curious person, so learning is a huge part of my DNA. I mean, the name of my podcast is Teach Me Something New for a reason.
That said, I can understand why some would think that “the boss” has limited people to learn from — your employees probably think you know it all. But it turns out that the greatest leaders in business are the ones who admit they probably don’t know enough yet seek to learn as much as possible from everyone around them, every single day.
Here are the primary groups of people I seek to learn from to help make me a better leader:
1. My employees
As a CEO, I like to think that I’m a generalist and that my primary job is to hire specialists. So, while I’m mediocre at a lot of things, they are *amazing* at them. I love learning from the people whom I technically “manage,” and they love to show off their skills. It’s a win-win. On that note, I try to foster a culture of learning within any company I’m part of. That's why my favorite interview question is: “Teach me something.” It’s fascinating to see people light up about what they might want to share, how they teach it (Can they communicate effectively?), and if it’s actually relevant to me (Do they know their customer?).
2. My peers and mentors
If you know me, you know that I hate the word "mentor," but in this regard, I mean it to describe those whom I look up to or who may be further along than me in their careers. I typically run into these people organically at social events (conferences, networking dinners, etc.) or find them for coffee or a Zoom when I have a particular dilemma that I know they are an expert in. I love learning about what similar challenges they might have solved in their career and how I can take note to do the same.
3. The world
A vague answer, but true — I spend hours per day reading and listening to podcasts and books about all kinds of subject matters. From self-care, to crypto, to philosophy, I’m here for it, and I’m usually reading it. I’m extra nerdy about reading science papers, by the way. It’s so exciting to see results of new studies that might impact our lives in huge ways.
4. My kids
Let’s face it, life is actually way more simple than we’d all like to think. I’m also “the boss” at home, and I’ve learned a ton through my children about how to communicate emotions, incentivize behaviors and engage in play as a form of learning. I strive to bring in the lessons I’ve learned with my boys to my workplace as both an investor and entrepreneur.
The reality is, no matter what position you’re in, there’s always room to grow and things to learn. And I truly believe that everything around you — and every person around you — is a new opportunity to push against your learning edge.
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