|Oh, and did you spot that compound correctly on the TLC?|
Those big spots can really smear, you know.
Photo credit: The Collared Sheep
- Be a good coach.
- Empower your team and don't micromanage.
- Express interest in team members' success and personal well-being.
- 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.
For much of its 13-year history, particularly the early years, Google has taken a pretty simple approach to management: Leave people alone. Let the engineers do their stuff. If they become stuck, they’ll ask their bosses, whose deep technical expertise propelled them into management in the first place.I really don't know how to process this; in the academic world, the professor (the boss) is usually the smartest and/or most knowledgeable person in the room. But again, the distribution of experience and talent is going to be a lot different at Google than it going to be in a typical academic chemistry group. (I suspect that the distribution of medicinal and/or process chemistry knowledge in an industrial setting is a lot closer to Google's distribution than an academic groups.)
But Mr. Bock’s group found that technical expertise — the ability, say, to write computer code in your sleep — ranked dead last among Google’s big eight. What employees valued most were even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers.
“In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” Mr. Bock says. “It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing. It’s important, but pales in comparison. Much more important is just making that connection and being accessible.”
I think Mr. Bock sells it short when tends to imply that the manager doesn't have to have the same level of technical knowledge as his subordinates. That sort of imbalance seems dangerous somehow, and I can't quite put my finger on it.
While I think that these skills are going to be difficult to grow in people (you either have skills #2, #3, #4, #5 and #7 or you don't), I certainly agree that they're very important. (Presumably, you can learn to develop your people's careers.) It will be interesting to see if anything comes out of this initiative by Google.