Welch is famous for his candid, talent-centric management style and has long preached that companies are only as strong as the people who keep them running. “This whole game of business revolves around one thing,” he said at New York’s World Business Forum on Wednesday. “You build the best team, you win.”
Welch made a name for himself by building and leading his team at GE for over 20 years. He has written several bestselling books on management and recently founded the Jack Welch Management Institute, an online MBA program. At the conference, he shared some of his management tips. Here are our favorites:
1. Tell your employees where they stand. Welch advocates frequent, candid performance reviews. Or in his words, “You have no right to be a leader if someone who works for you doesn’t know where they stand.”
Four times a year at GE, Welch gave each of his direct reports an honest appraisal. He told each of them what he liked about their work and what they could do to improve. “People think they’re too busy (for performance reviews),” he says. “That’s your number one job.” He says he devoted more than 60 percent of his time to human resources, viewing every meeting — even budget meetings — as talent evaluations.
Related: How to Break Bad News to Employees
2. Hire generous leaders. When Welch assesses a leader, he looks for people who want to see others succeed. “Every good leader I know has a generosity gene,” he says, meaning that they’re excited to give a raise or suggest their best employee for a better opportunity on another team. “They like to see people win.”
Welch adds that successful leaders also coach their employees, giving them tools and advice to help them grow. “A great leader is a generous coach,” he says.