Managers Matter: 8 Key Behaviors of Google’s Best

It’s nice to know you matter. Take managers, for example. In 2002, Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, weren’t so sure managers made a difference. Why not try running a company without them? Most of their employees, engineers, were skeptical of the added managerial layers anyway. So, engineering managers were eliminated and Google became a flat organization. The experiment didn’t last long. After just a few months, managers were back. Turns out they do matter

What good managers do

Google then turned its formidable data crunching analytic skills to determining what made an outstanding manager. Using their own statistics, Google’s Project Oxygen was a multi-year look into what great managers do. In the end, it identified 8 key behaviors:

1. Being good coaches
2. Empowering the team and not micromanaging
3. Showing interest in their team members’ success and personal well-being
4. Being productive and results-oriented
5. Being good communicators, both listening and sharing information
6. Helping with career development
7. Providing a clear vision and strategy
8. Possessing technical skills that help them advise their team

(You can read a long report on Project Oxygen in the Harvard Business Review.)

The bottom line is that managers play an important role in keeping an organization running smoothly and effectively. They help foster their direct reports’ sense of contributing to the company’s larger vision and, at the same time, encourage individual employee’s personal development. Managers are there to help. And good communication is key.

Automating feedback

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Mary van Balen
Mary van Balen
Technical Writer at Delphia Consulting
Mary is our copy editor and writes for the Delphia blog on Human Resources issues and product news.