“I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out
the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual,
and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable.”
~John Russell, Managing Director Harley-Davidson Europe Ltd.
Google’s discovery was described in an article published a couple of weeks ago in the New York Times. The article shared the results of Google’s search for the skills, qualities and behaviors that set their best managers apart; those leaders that make teams perform better, lead to better retention and just simply happier, more productive employees.
In short, by analyzing the behaviors and habits of their top managers, Google leaders sought to answer the question, “What makes them that good?” And then they used this information as a model to begin building a company of better bosses.
So, this data mining giant did what any data mining giant would do: they mined the data. Performance evaluations, feedback surveys, nominations for top manager awards all served as data input in looking for their answers. And once the results were in, they ranked the eight habits in order of importance.
1. Be a good coach
According to Google, “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.”
Sounds to me like a description of a great coach!
The remaining habits….
2. Empower the team and don’t micromanage
3. Express interest in team members
4. Don’t be a sissy- be productive and results oriented
5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team
6. Help your employees with career development
7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team
The order of importance, with technical skills falling in last place, was not always the case at Google. “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. 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.”
So the next time you feel driven to bone up on the latest technical pronouncement, legal finding or engineering question, ask yourself if your team members could better benefit from some one on one time. Can you utilize your valuable time to connect, or to coach them to solve their biggest challenges?
In the end, according to Google, being a great coach to your employees is what sets you apart from the rest.
To your success,