Top CEOs and their people management skills
People management is not merely human resources department designing games for employees or carrying out the annual performance appraisal. It goes much deeper than that. CEOs of top companies have emphasized the importance of practical people management for the smooth functioning of the business.
Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn – managing compassionately
Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn Group emphasizes on compassionate management. He stresses on the fact of stepping into your employee’s shoes to understand their problems instead of just expecting unreasonable sacrifice, grit, and resilience. One of the contributors of The Oxford Handbook of Compassion science states that people who experience compassion at their workplace are 30% more likely to persevere during challenging times, because they lay more emphasis on future rewards. Another contributor to the Oxford Handbook, Kim Cameron, found that people who experienced compassion at a workplace are more likely to lend a helping hand to their coworkers and feel more connected to the organization and coworkers. Weiner further claims that compassion embeds a sense of great trust among people. This trust also builds stronger teams for a stronger organizational foundation.
The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one who gets the people to do the greatest things. -Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States
Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group – autonomy and care for people
Branson’s people management skills are not only known just in the corporate circle, but also outside it. His most famous quote that emphasizes the art of people management for the growth of the business is, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to. If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.” According to Richard, being caring when in a position of power and leadership is extremely important, as it brings out the best in people. He also emphasizes on the fact that giving autonomy to people will push them to be their best, which in turn improves their leadership skills and strengthens their confidence and leadership skills.
One common phenomenon that is observed among CEOs who have great people management skills is that they’re very successful among the general public as well. Hence, their positive image helps in leveraging the brand image, as people associate the likability of the CEO or the leader with that of the brand and its offerings.
Arianna Huffington, former CEO of The Huffington Post – employee wellness
Arianna believes in taking great care of employee’s wellbeing to keep them productive. At Huffington, she has some benefits for her employees from yoga classes, gym memberships for free access to meditation apps like headspace. She has a system in place that does not allow employees to check their work emails when on vacation. Arianna’s primary goal is to prevent the burnout and to enhance their productivity to keep their creativity at highest levels. Nap rooms are the newest addition to offerings by Huffington to their employees.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Group – open communication
An email sent by Musk to all his employees became viral for his approach to communication within the organization. In the email, the CEO of the tech giant emphasizes on reducing the time for communicating the message to the relevant person by keeping the communication open. He sets the standards clear by saying that anyone and everyone should be allowed to interact with everyone in the company without needing to report to their concerned manager.
He tells us that the repercussions of communicating via a chain of command takes a lot of time as well as filters, or alters the message sometimes when it passes through so many hierarchies. Though his approach was criticized by some and even called unrealistic by few others, it is nevertheless the most productive way of establishing a clear and transparent communication system in the organization.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google – helping others succeed
One of the most celebrated Indians in the global tech industry, Sundar has many inspiring qualities. From his humble nature to soft-spoken persona, he is always perceived as a people’s person. The CEO of the global tech giant firmly believes in helping others succeed. He stresses on that fact that it’s important to trust people in their efforts and help them thrive in whatever they aim to do. If they’re successful in accomplishing whatever they seek, it’s not only their victory, but also an excellent value-addition for the organization.
From Richard to Sundar, every CEO emphasizes on one common thing i.e., letting others grow. One common phenomenon that is observed among CEOs who have great people management skills is that they’re very successful among the general public as well. Hence, their positive image helps in leveraging the brand image, as people associate the likability of the CEO or the leader with that of the brand and its offerings.