As our economy begins to recover, it seems that leadership skills are finally becoming one of the most critical success factors for organizations. Last Sunday, two articles on the front page of the New York Times Business section focused on leadership lessons at powerhouse companies Google and Starbucks.
Business reporter Adam Bryant wrote about Google’s Project Oxygen where technical experts are taught to be “better bosses.” It seems that Google has learned a good lesson. After analyzing a mountain of data and conducting hundreds of interviews with employees, Google came up with eight qualities that successful managers share.
They concluded that being a better boss doesn’t mean being the best technical mind. In fact, technical expertise ranks last in their components of good management. Now, Google is teaching its emerging leaders how to develop their employee’s careers, be productive, and develop a strong vision and strategy for their groups.
The story on Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz in the Times focuses on his evolution as a leader. Schultz has changed his leadership style dramatically after a disastrous few years for the coffee giant.
The formerly brash, aggressive leader has learned many lessons. Schultz commented, “What leadership means is the courage it takes to talk about things that, in the past, perhaps we wouldn’t have, because I’m not right all the time.” When we think of successful leaders, we often think of the driven, aggressive leadership style, not humble. Schultz recognized that what Starbucks needed to succeed was a more humble leader.
Both examples highlight the importance of a multi-faceted leadership approach. Looks like the leaders at Google and Starbucks share our philosophy – the research for our upcoming book The 8 Dimensions of Leadership: DiSC Strategies for Becoming a Better Leader identifies the danger of being a one-dimensional leader. No matter how good one-dimensional leaders are, they can’t provide the kind of leadership that leads to innovation, social change, and business transformation. Multidimensional leaders understand that great leadership requires a range of competencies and skills, and know that their own personality traits can work for and against them.
Why do you think it’s important to be a multi-dimensional leader?
What does the behavior of a successful multi-dimensional leader look like?