I read Michael Schneider’s piece on Medium titled,

Google Thought The Key to Effective Management Was Technical Expertise“.

Turns out that when it comes to leadership technical expertise is necessary, but way down the list.

I see this at every client site. Most of our clients run large sophisticated operations. They have been working at improving inefficiencies for a long time.

Yet, they often don’t get the results they want.

One of the big reasons is this focus on technical expertise. It tends to put people in silos. Why can’t a VP of Operations with an engineering degree provide leadership tips? Why can’t someone in HR provide operations tips? Often it’s because the title after their name limits our perception of what they can offer.

So, I often see brilliant engineers promoted up the chain and stumble. Not completely fail, but struggle. Because their engineering skills have a low value at that point. More experienced engineering leaders will admit “I haven’t done engineering in years. It’s people I am concerned with now.”


Read Michael’s piece. It provides an overview of “Eight Habits of Highly Effective Google Managers.” I agree with all of them. They are:

  • Be a good coach
  • Empower your team and don’t micromanage
  • Express interest in employee’s success and well-being
  • Be productive and results-oriented
  • Be a good communicator and listen to your team Help your employees with career development.
  • Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
  • Have key technical skills, so you can help advise the team

I am interested in your experiences. Let me know at philip.uglow@renshicon.com