After 35 years at Xerox, Ursula Burns is still learning

September 25, 2015, 4:00 PM UTC
Photograph by Eduardo Munoz — Reuters

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What is the biggest leadership lesson you’ve learned in the past year? is written by Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox.

Trust and listen to your team. It’s not something I just learned, but the past year has made me really appreciate the value of input, guidance, and diversity of thought and perspectives provided by my leadership team.

This year, I celebrated my 35-year anniversary with Xerox. It’s been fun to look back on my early years at the company and reflect on the tremendous change. What hasn’t changed, though, is my need to surround myself with a great, diverse team — people who I can trust to provide me with sound counsel, people who I can really listen to, and honest critics who I can rely on to tell it like it is — even when I may not want to hear it — and challenge me to be a better leader and a better person.

Trusting and listening to my team has been a key to my success and has helped me become a more effective leader. I am still learning.


Read all responses to the MPW Insider question: What is the biggest leadership lesson you’ve learned in the past year?

Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson: One of the biggest lessons she learned this year by Marillyn Hewson, CEO, chairman, and president of Lockheed Martin.

How CST Brands’ CEO overcomes resistance to change by Kim Lubel, CEO, chairman and president of CST Brands.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s secret to a successful career by Ginni Rometty, CEO, chairman and president of IBM.

Mondelez CEO says this is why managers need to be more transparent with employees by Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Mondelez.

Read More

Great ResignationClimate ChangeLeadershipInflationUkraine Invasion