Leadership Lessons That Facebook’s HR Chief Swears By

In the age of social media, an impressive Facebook profile perhaps counts for as much as dressing right or communicating effectively to create a positive impression.

Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman’s First, Break All the Rules (1999) has become the bible of people management ever since Lori Goler, Facebook’s VP of People, prescribed its lessons to all hiring managers. Buckingham and Coffman were analysts at Gallup at the time when the book were written, and they drew upon the findings of Gallup studies on 80,000 managers across 400 companies over a period of 25 years. Of its solid evidence and sound insight, we can be assured.

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Picking up on the lessons prescribed by First, Break All the Rules, Goler has been able to transform Facebook into a “strengths-based” organization. Here are some of the key insights from the book that Goler recommends to all hiring managers:


1. Hire employees for talent:

Buckingham and Coffman define talent as “a recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied.” Instead of focusing exclusively on experience and expertise, hiring managers should focus on the candidate’s soft skills and how s/he is likely to behave in the workplace.

Related: Are you hiring the best people available?


2. Open communication between managers and employers is key:

Annual performance reviews may no longer be very effective. The book recommends that managers meet the employees more frequently than that (perhaps once a month) to revisit the goals. This also helps measure success more easily and regularly. Fostering open communication between managers and employees enables the team to function more smoothly.


3. Guide employees, but don’t direct them:

It’s important to define the goals and outcomes for the employees, but it’s equally important to let each employee identify his/her unique path to achieving that target. The book advocates respecting every individual’s style of working.


4. Don’t treat others as you would like to be treated:

The authors claim that following The Golden Rule (treating others as you would like to be treated) is a common management pitfall that must be addressed. Managers must treat their employees in the way that they (every individual employee) would like to be treated. This, of course, enables mutual respect and shows that you value this person as more than just an employee.


Related: Hiring millennials? Ask them these 3 job interview questions.


5. Build strong personal relationships to ensure success:

Buckingham and Coffman have created a list of 12 questions that your employees must respond positively to. Needless to say, building strong personal relationships at work is crucial to success.

The 12 questions are as follows:

  1. “Do I know what is expected of me at work?”
  2. “Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?”
  3. “At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?”
  4. “In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?”
  5. “Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?”
  6. “Is there someone at work who encourages my development?”
  7. “At work, do my opinions seem to count?”
  8. “Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?”
  9. “Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?”
  10. “Do I have a best friend at work?”
  11. “In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?”
  12. “This last year, have I had opportunities to learn and grow?”


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