Twitter CEO Dick Costolo teaches a course on “managing at Twitter” to new managers, according to a recent article in Business Insider. Why would a busy CEO take the time to teach a management class to employees? Here’s what he told The Wall Street Journal in an interview:
I have to make sure people are managing the way I want them to manage, and consistently across the company…Those are great teaching moments when the CEO is standing in front of you and saying, ‘here’s a great example of someplace I screwed this up.’
I agree with this use of the CEO’s time. As CEO of NetQoS, I used to either teach a class or spend time individually with new managers to educate them on our management approach. I also encouraged them to read books like “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, which is what we based our management philosophy on at the company.
One of things that first-time CEOs often don’t realize is that as CEO you are responsible for all the policies and decisions in the company. This includes not only the ones you make but also the ones your managers make. Just as ignorance of the law is no defense in court, ignorance of the way your managers are acting is no excuse.
Employees will believe that any policy or decision coming from their manager has the CEO’s blessing and consent. It becomes critically important as a company grows, and the CEO becomes further and further removed from the day-to-day activities of the employees, that he or she provide for ways to maintain consistency in the management. Training every new manager in the company is a great way to set a consistent standard across the company.