The article The NY Jets’ Mike Tannenbaum and SAP’s Bill McDermott: Creating Leaders On and Off the Field in Knowledge@Wharton has some interesting pointers for all R&D managers.
1. Provide precise and candid feedback (even when negative):
“The most important thing a leader can do is give people feedback,” McDermott said, recalling a meeting where an executive was complaining about a mistake made by an employee. “‘What did he say when you told him about it?’ I asked, but there was silence.” Employees deserve the respect of candor, McDermott noted, and they need to know what is expected of them and have a clear understanding of their employer’s strategy and culture.
2. Provide a big long-term vision that can get the team excited.
McDermott and Tannenbaum agreed that a leader has to focus on promoting an overall vision for his or her organization rather than dwelling on the small stuff.
“Our thing is to go big or go home,” McDermott said, noting that SAP has had many opportunities to buy companies that would catapult the firm into a new business category.
3. Be careful in selecting team members and look beyond resume / technical capabilities:
“When he was on the cell phone in the car, did he treat the person on the other end with respect? … How did he act with the waitress? Your character is what you do when no one is looking. That will make for a better team, where everyone knows what everyone else’s job is, and we all work together.”
Something we can all learn…