Notes – Google’s quest to build a better boss

Source: Google's quest to build a better boss.

Even though I have been very lucky to always have exceptionally good managers and great colleagues; I thought it'll be great to write my views (in italics) on the article, as part of "a new dimension".

People leave companies for the following three reasons or a combination of them:

  1. They don't feel a connection to the mission of the company or sense that their work matters.
  2. They don't really like or respect co-workers.
  3. They have a terrible boss. As per the article this is the biggest factor.
There are cases with personalities where they are not necessarily realizing they need a course correction. So it's just about being clear & saying, "OK, I understand what you are doing here, but let's talk about the results & this is the goal."

The point of collating data is not to develop an algorithm for successful management. The point is to make people aware of it, so that managers can understand what works & just as important, what doesn't. The traps show up in hiring. Managers often want to hire people who seem just like them.

This I believe is the biggest fault of the hiring process; especially in today's world where the learning curve (thus skill development time) has drastically reduced due to availability of instant information. Which leads to paradoxes like this:

I think that rather than focusing on the experience of the applicant, the focus should be finding answers to following questions:

  1. How well does the applicant know about his subject? Can he show me something valuable that points not only to his ability(which takes care of the experience part) but potential as well?
  2. How well does the applicant deal with people situations? Give problem scenarios.
  3. How can I test the learning capability of the applicant? Learning fast should be given the same importance as learning well.
  4. How good are the applicant's coaching skills? Does the applicant show demonstrable experience in this?

We do everything to minimize the authority & power of the manager in making a hiring decision.

I also liked the concept of cognitive bias – defined as a single personality trait that skews someone's perception of a colleague's performance. This was a fascinating discovery for me. I have been on both sides of the table.


If I am a manager & I want to get better, I'll want more out of my people and most importantly I want them to be happier. To ensure this I will need to do two things:

  1. I have some time for them.
  2. I am consistent.


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