The Best Managers Have These 10 Behaviors

The Best Managers Have These 10 Behaviors

Beginning in 2008, Google researchers wanted to understand what makes a manager great at Google.  Here’s what they found.

Project Oxygen

Google sought to identify the common threads among Google’s highest performing managers. Based on internal research, Google then applied its findings to its manager development programs.

Over time, Google found that by publicizing and training managers on these central principles, Google experienced improved team outcomes such as turnover, satisfaction and performance.

As Google has grown and evolved, the company also has incorporated employee feedback and refined the central behaviors that make a great manager.

The 10 Behaviors Of A Great Manager

So, here are the 10 behaviors that make a great manager at Google:

1.  Is a good coach

Great managers are not simply great performers. They invest the time and energy to coach others.  Great managers share best practices so that their teams can grow.

2. Empowers team and does not micromanage

It’s all about empowerment.  What are you doing to empower others on your team and across the organization?  Micromanagement is one of the great blunders of poor managers. Give your team space. Be flexible. Sometimes, you just need to get out of their way. No one likes a micromanager.

3. Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being

Be inclusive. Embrace your team and make them part of the mission. Create an environment where anyone can ask a question, experiment and propose a new idea.

4. Is productive and results-oriented

Results matter, but you need to create a culture in which everyone can thrive to produce the desired results.  Show your team how to produce the results that you want. Don’t just set goals and then expect outcomes.

5. Is a good communicator — listens and shares information

Too many managers fail because they can’t communicate.  Communication is not top-down or unidirectional. It’s essential to be a good listener. Invest the time to get in the arena and listen to your team.

6. Supports career development and discusses performance

Don’t focus on what your team can do for you. Focus on what you can do for them – and how you can work with them to advance the goals and mission of the organization.  Career development is essential – give your team the tools they need to thrive.  Feedback (positive and constructive) is so important – make sure to get it right.

7. Has a clear vision/strategy for the team

If the manager doesn’t have a clear vision and strategy, how can the team thrive?  It starts with the manager to set the tone and lay the foundation and direction for the team.

8. Has key technical skills to help advise the team

Substance matters.  Managers don’t “check out” when they become managers. Rather, they get in the weeds.  Not only can you help achieve better outcomes, but also you can gain credibility with your team when you demonstrate your technical expertise.

9. Collaborates across Google

Your team is not an island.  You must collaborate across the organization. You have expertise that someone in another group can use. They too have skills that can benefit you.  The more everyone shares, the more the organization rises.  Collaboration leads to wonderful synergies.

10. Is a strong decision maker

Analysis is helpful. Strategy is important. Scenario testing provides focus.  However, there is no replacement for being a strong decision maker.  You can spend unlimited time analyzing, strategizing and scenario-testing.  It’s the action that matters.

These 10 behaviors make a great manager at Google. What makes a great manager in your organization?


The information above was from a posting on by Zack Friedman, Senior Contributor.

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