Being a leader is a universal strength that spans across any organization that consists of more than one person. There are “x” amount of leadership books that offer how to refine personal leadership and instil inspiration among subordinates or even bosses. The truth is that leadership practices are ever-changing and being able to adapt to situations is a leader’s greatest asset. For the founders of Google, redefining how to lead an organization was not an option it was an imperative due to their industry, product and employees beneath them. What can be taken from these thought leaders that can apply to every other organization? See below:
- Repeat, Repeat, Repeat the message. Sounding like a broken record is not a bad thing when you are instilling a vision and culture in your organization. Subordinates are busy people with much on their plate, repetitive communication will help drill things in their mind.
- Total transparency is important. Everyone likes being a part of the bigger conversation within an organization. Empower these needs with looping employees or team members in with all the information.
- Pay attention to what you are saying. Words matter, every one. Whether your language is precise and to the point, or describing a message clearly, words matter.
- Stories get the point across. Powerpoint presentations with bullet points can appeal to some, but stories illustrate culture and emotion. They also stay in the listener’s mind more easily. Communicate messages through anecdotes that will reside in others minds.
- Communication is a two way road. If you are the only one talking you are the only one not listening. Great leaders learn from everyone, and they learn through listening.
- Not to say that you should always defer, a leader is in charge for a reason, and that is to differentiate between what they know to be truths and what other may know. If you know an answer, trust yourself.
- Flatten the pecking order. Do not make decisions solely on rank. Pick the best opinion or proposal based on what is best for the organization.
- HIPPO’s are not the end all decision. The highest paid person’s opinions are just another opinion, a lesser rank may have more value in their experience rather than their pay stub, listen to who can make the difference.
- Bureaucracy slows things down. The less people in the way of decisions and actions the faster solutions can be implemented. It is the internet age and speed is the name of the game.
- The closer the better, when it comes to office arrangement. Organize your office to encourage collaboration, not seclusion. If employees are very close physically they will be more ept to working on things together. The standard hierarchy of placing senior people in corner offices pulls them away from the important things happening and creates a larger gap between leaders and others.
- Be present in both senses of the word. It is hard to lead from the rear, even harder to lead from home. Be in the office and be engaged, its sets the correct example.
- Small teams make the difference. They can work quickly and flexibly to solve problems. Smaller teams also are more likely to want to pick up the slack should another member get sick or become absent.
- Let your competitors worry about you, not the other way around. Focus on leading in the direction that makes you unique.
- Failing to plan is planning to fail.
- Trust but verify, a russian saying that applies to all opinions and data presented. Hard data is the safest bet, usually.
- Place value over costs and learn to allocate time.
- If you need to reorganize, make it a 24 hour process. He who moves fast eats first.
- Interview well, it is an important skill for a leader to be able to pick a team that is smart and motivated. Spend the time on the front end of hiring, instead of on the back end firing.
- Organize a hiring committee that has final say on hiring decisions. Hiring managers can sometimes run into conflicts of interest when adding to their own teams. Take the buying power out of their hands but listen to their suggestions.
- You cannot learn how to be passionate. The folks who created Google Sky were software engineers not astronomers, their passion drove them to create an app for the stars.
- Hire lateral learners, not specialists. A leader is equipt with much power if he/she has many people who can be taught many things and do them well.
- Do not dive in before quality of a hire is shown. A position is never needed so urgently that it should be filled with an under qualified team member.
- Goals should be chosen carefully, they drive all decisions.
- Unanimous decisions are not needed in the workplace, find the consensus from your team and make the decision based on facts.
- Put yourself in the customers shoes, how will your decisions help or hurt them. If you find yourself listing off the latter, its the wrong decision.
- Steer clear of micro-management, let your creative employees be creative.
- Plan for the worst. A leader cannot instill complete risk aversion, but he/she can have contingency plans in case things take a turn for the worst.
- Let ideas play out and do not be quick to cut them down. It’s the crazy ideas that built the companies we emulate today.
- Enable those around with the power of “yes”. Piggybacking off of how bureaucracy slows things down, the word “no” is another way to kill innovation.
- He who has the most experience, will probably have the best judgement. In success and failure, make sure people are learning from experience.
- Continued education is how the world turns. Great leaders never stop getting better, and they get better through learning.
- Leaders cannot do everything themselves, learn to delegate to those who can handle responsibility. It will give them confidence as well for future endeavors.
- Stand by what you say, and make sure you mean it. A leader is who everyone looks to for stability and an objective point of view. Think, then speak.
- Be your own critic. Could you work for yourself and if so, what would your biggest gripes be?