October 2, 2010
Does Your Team Have the Four Essential Types?
By ADAM BRYANT
This interview with
, president and C.E.O. of the software firm VMware, was conducted and condensed by
What are some important leadership lessons for you?
I’ve learned that when you go from being an individual contributor to being a leader of a small group of 5 to 10
people, to leading 100 people, to leading 1,000 people, to leading 10,000 people, the nature of your job changes at
each of those points.
Talk more about that.
As you manage bigger groups of people, you cannot be as closely connected to specific underlying issues and
challenges. Your contribution has to become more of making sure that you’re getting the best out of others, that others
are really thinking the issues through, and that you’re creating the broad framework in which they can get their jobs
done and be as productive and focused as they can be. What makes it a challenge is that every time you cross one of
those boundaries, you become less of a specialist, less knowledgeable about specific issues.
You have to realize that your contribution becomes more symbolic, in the sense that you’re trying to set a general
direction. People want to see you as representing the general mission, not just yourself.
And, as the groups get bigger, the period over which you measure your own performance gets longer, and the way you
get your feedback changes. The bigger the group, the easier it is to spend days wondering whether you had any impact
at all. You really have to take a longer-term view. So you’re going to have to discipline yourself and take a step back to
ask yourself the question, “Are we moving in the right fundamental direction?” And, if so, take satisfaction from that.