At one time Google thought the top ranked trait of effective managers was technical expertise – after all the two founders were dropouts from Stanford’s Ph.D program in computer science and the person they chose for adult supervision, Eric Schmidt, actually had a Ph.D in computer science.
Google’s “people operations” team (HR) has applied the Google Way (data analytics) to management analysis and developed a manifesto entitled Eight Habits Of Highly Effective Google Managers.
According to the article 8 Habit of Highly Effective Google Managers by Henry Blodget on Business Insider “Have key technical skills, so you can help advise the team” came in dead last of the eight habits!
Number one? Be a good coach!
- Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing negative and positive
- Have regular one-on-ones, presenting solutions to problems tailored to the employee’s strengths
Anyone familiar with mentoring will recognize point one as the primary function of a mentor. Point two is what distinguishes coaching – which is far more directive, from mentoring, which is oriented towards providing advice, guidance, and feedback.
The other difference is that coaching within a company is most often directed towards career development, whereas mentoring is most often case or problem-specific to the individual or team.
So obviously what is needed to be a successful manager is that combination of coaching and mentoring that helps your staff to succeed and grow.
Read the full article for the other six habits of highly effective managers at Google.
So while your startup will lack Google’s wealth of data, not to speak of the data analytics tools to analyze how your team is performing, jumpstart your venture by emulating Google’s eight habits. As your company grows you may well change the list, but you’ll be off to a great start.