Google's Best Managers - How do You Stack Up?

I read an article the other day titled “Google’s Quest to Build a Better Boss.” The article was interesting in that it described Google’s “Project Oxygen” – an in-depth study of Google’s management to determine what makes the best managers at Google the best.

Interestingly, the list of behaviors that make managers great at Google reads like a Harvard Business Review “Best of” list. The eight behaviors – in order of importance in Google’s environment – are:

  1. Be a good coach
  2. Empower your team and don’t micromanage
  3. Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being
  4. Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented
  5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team
  6. Help your employees with career development
  7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
  8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team

Even more interestingly, having technical skills on par with the team that you’re leading came in dead last. This can serve as a reminder that when you move from an individual contributor position into a manager position, you begin employing a different skill set. Yes, your technical skills count, but they become less important than your ability to connect.

In addition, Google camp up with three pitfalls that negatively impact the success of a manager:

  • Having trouble making a transition to the team
  • Lacking a consistent approach to performance management and team development
  • Spending too little time on managing and communicating

As a result of this study, Google’s People Analytics team determined that the most important thing a manager can do is connect with their people and be accessible to their people. Although the Google project doesn’t provide any new “secret” to managerial success, it does provide a reminder of what’s important if you’re a leader of people, a manager of people, or a mentor of people.

Spend some time reviewing the list and reviewing you behaviors to see how you stack up against Google’s best!

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About

Sandy's ideas about learning, organizational & personal improvement and other stuff.

I work on Oracle's Leadership Development team, but all thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely my own!

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