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What I Learned From Apple CEO Tim Cook and How It Changed How I Lead

Tim Cook demonstrated expertise in this one key leadership trait that all of us can — and should — adapt for our businesses

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One of the most remarkable business lessons I have ever learned took place in a meeting room in Cupertino, . The “instructor” was Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple.

I was there as part of the executive team at , in a top-to-top meeting with Apple’s leadership. My role in the meeting was small, so I had ample opportunity to carefully listen and watch everyone in the room.

Tim Cook amazed me. He was humble and genuine, spending nearly all of his time listening, acknowledging and nodding. Whenever someone aimed a question at him, Tim would redirect it to the executive in charge of that particular area.

It was clear to all of us that he is a brilliant person who understood exactly what was going on, but aside from asking a few reframing questions, he deferred to his team. He could very easily have dominated the entire conversation — every time he spoke, the room fell to eager silence. Yet he said maybe 20 words in an hour and a half.

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