In today's NYTimes, Adam Bryant reports on Google's quest to build a better boss. A high priority for the firm, Google understood that outstanding bosses are key to the future of the organization.
Actually, there were no surprises except that the Bryant and the Google team made a very big deal out of the fact that technological expertise ranked last in the survey of employee's desires for a better boss. Why is that such a big deal? The transition that practically every person who becomes a manager has to make is to learn that technical expertise does not make for effective management. It's a tough transition for many, but news? Hardly. I've worked one-on-one with technology managers for more than 25 years and I have yet to meet a manager at director, VP or CIO level who thinks that technology expertise is a high priority. Those who think technology expertise is fundamental for managing technology people really don't understand people.
To figure out what a better manager will look like, Google poured over performance reviews, feedback surveys and award nominations, correlating words and phrases "as only a data-driven company can do."
According to the Times writer, here's the list of Google's Rules--in order of importance--as well as a few management pitfalls it found.
Eight Good Behaviors
- Be a good coach.
- Empower your team and don't micromanage.
- Express interest in team members's success and personal well-being.
- Don't be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented.
- Be a good communicator and listen to your team.
- Help your employees with career development.
- Have a clear vision and strategy for the team.
- Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team.
Three Pitfalls of Managers
- Have trouble making a transition to teh team.
- Lack a consistent approach to performance management and career development.
- Spend too little time managing and communicating.
[Note: Follow above links to NYTimes article and rules.]
Based on my experience, I'd say the Google employees nailed the issues spot-on. What do you think?