UK, Feb, 2, 2016.- I read a very interesting interview in the New York Times on the management of business leadership. This is an interview with Amit Singh, president of Google for Work, which concludes: “the difference between frontline managers and leaders. Leaders finda way to work together”. I was charming. Form teams of professionals in projects and attractive targets is a sensitive, complex responsibility. I bring my blog an fragment from this interview that has much to do with talent management teams of people.
This interview with Amit Singh, president of Google for Work, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant
When did you move to the United States?
I did my undergrad at the Delhi College of Engineering, and then
I did my master’s in industrial and management at Rensselaer
Polytechnic in upstate New York. I didn’t know much about
technology at that stage, but I got a job right after that with Oracle.
And what were some early leadership lessons for you?
I learned the hard way about the importance of coaching people
rather than jumping in and doing the work for them. A lot of folks
have a tough time with that balance, and I did, too. Instead of giving
people advice or coaching them on how to present something, I
would go and do it for them or write their presentation.Over the
years, I have tried to find the balance of when to jump in and when
to coach. I’ve also learned how to coach. A lot of folks wait until a
formal review, and I’ve always felt that the best coaching is in the
moment and actionable.It’s about trying to make somebody better
versus criticizing someone for doing something. Done right, people
love it, because you’re really invested in their success. The flip side
is that if you just say what’s wrong, then people feel terrible.
Whatever amount of time you’re spending communicating, it’s
never enough. I realized that so much gets lost in translation in
emails. You have to spend time communicating your point of view
and establishing a vision for the team and how you’re going to get
there. It’s superimportant.I think people are looking for inspiration.
Work needs to have meaning, and they want to feel like they’re part
of something bigger. To do that well, you have to be thoughtful, and
you have to communicate effectively.Another lesson is that as big as
the organization might be, it doesn’t always take that much to reach
out and connect with people. We have a very flat structure at
Google, and it’s pretty open. Anybody can come into my office and
say, “Hey, I want to have a cup of coffee with you.” I remember
being so motivated by a leader who always felt so accessible even
though he spent all of five minutes with me.I’ve also learned over time that you can’t do too many things well. And so you narrow the focus down to the things that truly matter, which forces you to prioritize ruthlessly. Sometimes you just have to say that you’re not going to that meeting. That takes some self-confidence and discipline.
How do you hire? What qualities are you looking for?
Are they open, do you like them, does their style mesh with yours
and the rest of the team? Do they care about things beyond just
their own success? Those are things that are hard to test for. You
have to spend time with people to get to know them.I typically do a
lot of reference checks. It’s amazing what you’ll find if you just are
persistent and ask the right questions. And hiring for a specific role
because they just did that role elsewhere is a good starting point,
but I look at candidates much more broadly.Can this person
stretch? Can we make a judgment that this person can learn new
things, and it doesn’t have to be business-related. They could be
passionate about something completely different. You have to put
them at ease to get them to talk about those interests.We also have a
broad set of interviewers — we have a minimum of four at Google —
that gives you diverse points of view and then you connect to see if
this is the right person. Diversity of thought is actually the most
invaluable thing in a business community. If we’re always agreeing
with each other, then we haven’t gone down paths of debate that
allow new ideas to emerge.Some of the best discussions are
passionate but respectful, so that you leave a meeting without
feeling like you’ve lost something, even though your point of view
may not have been the one that was adopted. That is what fosters
innovation in a company — a clash of ideas, but a respectful clash.
The balance is how to get it right, and the people you introduce into
that mix and the culture you create around debate are the two
What advice do you give new college grads?
They grow up learning a few things about how to approach
problems. The piece that they possibly miss is that, once you’re in
the real world, it’s all about other people. Giving is more important
than your point of view. And learning how to get along and work together, work in a team, is the difference between frontline managers and leaders. Leaders find
a way to work together. They find a solution. There’s always a way,
and you’ve got to find what that way is.
I recommend watching 15 minutes of the next conference on Dylan Evans: Risk Intelligence. The TED talks are brief and very positive to access a very specialized knowledge.
I invite you to comment on this blog publishes both contributions and what is your opinion about it. Thank you so much.