Google is cutting edge management, right? Well, for most of its history, Google prioritized in-depth technical expertise as the most important quality in a manager. They thought that the best leaders left their people alone, and that their primary function was to support technical problems when people got stuck.
Ah, but then came data. A firm was brought in to conduct in-depth employee surveys, focus groups and interviews. The results were shocking for the tech heads. When the chiefs at Google examined what employees valued most in a manager, technical expertise ranked dead last. Far outpacing techy knowledge, staff valued characteristics such as emotional stability (staying even-keeled), asking good questions, taking time to meet with staff and caring about employees’ careers.