Eight habits of highly effective Google managers

10-Apr-2012

In early 2009 Google embarked upon a project to understand what separated "good" managers from "not so good" managers. In other words what were the qualities that the leaders of high performing teams possessed?

The objective of the project was to understand what they needed to do to develop better leaders.

Who better to trawl over data and statistics? They analysed performance reviews, went back over staff surveys and took a close look at the reasons why their top manager received nominations for awards.

By late 2009 the Google "people analytics" teams came up with the "magic formula" what the New York Times called the Eight Habits of Highly Effective Google Managers.

Sorry Google but this magic formula is little more than Leadership 101! Nevertheless it is good to be reminded of the fundamentals of effective people management.

Seems that Google also suffers from a very common problem amongst growing businesses when it comes to promoting technicians into management roles.

What happens when you take a good "technician" with exemplary geek type skills and genius when it comes to code and data analytics? They find themselves managing people rather than chucks of data; Their responsibilities now include communicating with people, taking into consideration the needs, motivations and values of individuals.

Apparently the Google manifesto on Leadership 101 has helped turn technicians into managers of people. The good news is that these habits are universal, so every manager can benefit from understanding and adopting these habits.

Google's 8 Habit of Highly Effective Google Managers

  1. Be a good coach

    Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing negative and positive

    Have regular one-on-ones, presenting solutions to problems tailored to the employee's strengths
  2. Empower your team and don't micro-manage

    Balance giving freedom to your employees while still being available for advice

    Make "stretch" assignments to help them tackle big problems
  3. Express interest in employees' success and well-being

    Get to know your employees as people, with lives outside of work

    Make new folks feel welcome, help ease the transition
  4. Be productive and results-oriented

    Focus on what you want the team to achieve and how employees can help achieve it

    Help the team prioritize work, and make decisions to remove roadblocks
  5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team

    Communication is two-way: Both listen and share

    Hold all-hands meetings and be specific about the team's goals

    Encourage open dialogue and listen to the questions and concerns of your employees
  6. Help your employees with career development
  7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team

    Even amid turmoil, keep the team focused on goals and strategy

    Involve the team in setting and evolving the team's vision, goals, and progress
  8. Have key technical skills, so you can help advise the team

    Roll up sleeves and work side-by-side with team, when needed

    Understand the specific challenges of the work

The good thing about these 8 habits is that they mostly dependent upon behaviours which we can learn.

The final lesson from Google are the 3 mistakes mad when promoting technicians to managers and failing to ensure that they have the appropriate skills to manage people.

3 Pitfalls

  1. Have trouble making transition to team leader

    Fantastic individual performers are often promoted to manager without the necessary skills to lead

    People hired from outside often don't understand the specific ways of the company
  2. Lack a consistent approach to performance management and career development

    Doesn't help employees understand what company wants

    Doesn't coach employees on how they can develop and stretch

    Not proactive: Waits for the employees to come to them
  3. Spend too little time on managing and communicating
  4. At HR Management Services we provide services that help you to become a better manager of people. Check out what we do, call us to discuss your needs or fill out the "connect" form with your details to receive information and news on topics relating to Human Resource Management.

    Acknowledgment and thanks to http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-03-20/strategy/30006167_1_operations-managers-manifesto#ixzz1rXDZud11 for writing about the original New York Times article.

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