October 9, 2019 - Issue 19-41

Good Afternoon  ,

This week, we return to the subjects of effective communication, leadership and teamwork. Regular readers know I seldom stray far from these topics. If you imagine "management" as a three-legged stool - always stable - these three legs are what support it. Without them an organization cannot be effective and productive.

A huge part of leadership is delegation. Effective delegating helps teams grow and develop. Here are some tips from Scott Mautz about how Google's leaders do it.

Many people see Google as a huge evil behemoth. My purpose is to point out and help us all learn from the techniques which have made Google successful. Whatever you think of Google, they have grown very successfully. In 1998, they began as a tiny start-up. Today their stock is among the highest-valued of U.S. companies. My purpose here is definitely not to advance a positive or negative opinion of Google.

Mautz outlines four key techniques Google leaders employ to stretch and grow their teams. He refers to a leadership guide published by Google. Here are summaries of those principles. Mautz goes much deeper into each one.
  • Macromanage rather than micromanage - Your team members need to know they have your support and guidance where they need it. They also need to know you're not "looking over their shoulder". This is something of a balancing act. Effective leaders learn to do it with skill and in a way that's nearly invisible.
  • "Turn people loose" to run with their ideas, up to a point. Be careful though to steer them clear of fatal mistakes. Another delicate balancing act!
  • Trust and believe in your team, and be sure they know you trust and believe in them. Note this does not mean leaving them completely to their own devices. They must know you're there, guiding where they need guidance and supporting them. But trusting them. As with all matters dealing with people, this again requires a delicate touch. 
  • Celebrate their successes at important milestones in their project. Sing their praises where the rest of the organization can hear it. Mention each team member individually and his or her contribution to the team's progress. Again, this requires some finesse. Note the mention of "milestones", not each little detail. Stick to major steps forward.
A current buzzword in discussing management methods is "soft skills". The fine lines one must walk to apply these four techniques effectively are what soft skills are about. It takes some "feel" to apply them well. Good leaders have that "feel" - I hope you do if you have leadership responsibility. Scott Mautz' article may provide some useful guidance for you.

John Stevens

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About John

Throughout a career spanning over 45 years my management style has been one of building teams to bring several competent people together to focus on a common objective. I noted early in my career that, in most organizations, there is an enormous amount of time, energy, and effort wasted by people working at cross purposes.

As I transition to life in the Argentine outback, my focus shifts from coaching to helping other business coaches and advisers get their message out to their prospective clients. With my first-hand knowledge of the benefits of effective business coaching, I am uniquely qualified to help business advisers of all stripes convey their message.

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John B. Stevens, Freelance Copywriter

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