- Goldman Sachs‘ human resources head Sally Boyle shared her best advice for managers.
- According to Boyle, managers should get to know their employees, including their strengths, weaknesses, and work preferences.
- This can be harder than it sounds, since every employee is different.
Sally Boyle attributes much of her career success to having some “fantastic” managers. “They knew to spend time with me, understanding what would really light my fire and what would make me succeed.”
Boyle is now the international head of human capital management at Goldman Sachs, and she shared this observation recently during a discussion on inclusion and diversity, part of the company’s global speaker series.
Boyle’s best advice for managers is based on her own experience.
“The best way to be inclusive is to really know your people,” she said, “to know every single person that works for you and know what makes them tick, what opportunities they might want, what they need to get better at, what feedback they need to have.”
To be sure, this is much harder than it sounds. As Boyle said, leadership is “about acknowledging that every single person in this organization is different. But as a manager, you need to understand those differences.”
That is to say, there’s no such thing as a universally effective management style – it depends on who you’re working with.
The process of getting to know your employees should start as soon as they join your team (or you join theirs). Over on Fast Company, Ximena Vengoechea shared some potential questions that will help you better understand your direct reports. For example: “What experiences make you happy at work?” and “How transparent do you prefer managers to be?”
And on The Muse, Avery Augustine recommends joining a group project so you can learn about your employees’ different working styles and personalities.
Once you’ve gotten a sense of each person’s strengths, weaknesses, and preferences, Boyle said, “work with each individual to make sure that they get to do what they want and they get the right help and feedback to succeed.”