My college friend Kellie Fitzgerald was one of the first 100 employees at Google’s Chicago office.
Her smarts and experience have gotten her far in her field and within the tech giant, and she now leads a team of 13 Googlers anxious to rock the world.
Because people management is a high priority at Google, Kellie, and all Googler People Managers, sit down 1:1 with each of their direct reports for 30 minutes a week.
So I asked her to play the role of my manager in one of these chats, offering up advice for success and professional fulfillment at Google—or wherever. Here are her top five tips.
1. Focus on today. Instead of channeling your energy into snagging a future promotion or project, focus on doing your best job today. And if a promotion comes later than expected, don’t sweat it. In the arc of your career, when it happens isn’t nearly as crucial as you think.
Unsurprisingly, Kellie’s team is ambitious. They’re all hoping to climb the ladder at Google, but she pushes them to be present and honor the task at hand. The rest, she insists, will follow.
2. Be vulnerable. Relationships flourish when vulnerability is present, so don’t let fear hold you back from sharing your successes and failures.
Google is big on psychological safety, Kellie says. Research backs the idea that the highest performing teams are able to admit when they don’t have it all together. It brings them closer, instills empathy and, ultimately, helps them thrive.
3. Lead. Don’t service. It’s easy to get in the habit of servicing clients. They approach you with a request, and you simply fulfill it without considering if this is what they should be doing in the first place.
Kellie empowers her team to lead clients instead of servicing them. That means approaching requests and problems with creative solutions and thoughtfully communicating ideas back to the client.
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