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Teaching leadership to 20,000 at Google

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

At Google, anyone can be a leader—or at least act like one. The result is that anyone can be more effective, get more done, influence the process and support an innovative environment.

To teach leadership to 20,000 employees, says Evan Wittenberg, head of global leadership development, Google leans on a few principles:

You can’t tell people to bolster their leadership skills. “We prefer the pull model,” says Wittenberg.

Take the viral approach. “We create an experience that Googlers start hearing about from fellow engineers or salespeople,” he says.

Make it worth their time. “In a company that works so quickly and in a changing industry, that’s really valued,” he says. “If they’re going to spend two days or two hours on a learning experience, it had better be good.”

Don’t talk at them. “We’re creating ‘lab environments,’ in which people can learn leadership,” Wittenberg says. “So it’s not so much we’re delivering content to them. We spend a lot of time having Googlers teach others, sharing cases, best practices, what’s working, what are you struggling with.”

—Adapted from “On Leadership: Evan Wittenberg, Google’s Leadership Guy,” The Washington Post.

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