Improving Leadership Effectiveness

The scientists at Google are known for developing complex mathematical algorithms that wade through mountains of data, resulting in pin-pointed searches. A team of statisticians within Google turned their attention to uncovering something even rarer than an original copy of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreamseffective leadership. Specifically they sought to determine what behaviors are most valued within Google, an organization that prides itself on its distinction from more mundane corporations.

The results were less than surprising. After correlating phrases, words, praises, and complaints culled from the company’s performance reviews, feedback surveys and awards nominations, they found that those qualities most valued by employees were the same things we’ve known from research in other organizations: help employees with career development, have a clear strategy, show concern for employees’ lives, and so on. These insights came after collecting more than 10,000 observations about managers and analyzing over 100 unique variables.

Although these findings might seem disappointing, on the contrary they were highly relevant and welcome within the organization, and Google has used these results to improve their leadership effectiveness. The information was taught and discussed in training programs, as well as in coaching and performance review sessions with individual employees, and it led to quick results. As only a statistician could report, the company had a statistically significant improvement in manager quality for 75 percent of its worst-performing managers.

To read more about this unique program, click here for The New York Times article.