November 16, 2021

The Top Skill of Google Employees

The study brought back shocking results: of the eight most important qualities of top Google employees, STEM skills came in last.So what was their number one most important quality?

google employee smiling

The Top Skill of Google Employees

Google used to be known for hiring people with computer science degrees and top grades from elite universities. Then, in 2013, Google conducted a study of its top employees to discover what their most important qualities were. They assumed that the study’s results would show that these employees owed their success to their STEM skills − meaning their expertise in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

They were wrong.

The study brought back shocking results: of the eight most important qualities of top Google employees, STEM skills came in last.

So what was their number one most important quality?

Being a good coach.

Their other qualities included:
-Communicating and listening well
-Possessing insights into others
-Being supportive of one’s colleagues
-Being a good critical thinker and problem solver and
-Being able to make connections across complex ideas

The company then sought out to hire humanities majors, artists and MBA’s.

Then last spring, another Google study showed that their best teams exhibited emotional safety, equality, generosity, curiosity toward their teammates’ ideas and emotional intelligence. In other words, all team members are listened to and valued.

As leadership and executive coaches, these findings really struck a chord with us. We have worked with hundreds of leaders, and many of them don’t realize that one of their main roles is to listen to, support and guide their team, or as Google puts it, to be a good coach.

Coaching your team is not a superfluous activity − it’s a crucial step to helping your team reach their full potential.


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