In 2008, Google sought to answer a common question that many companies ask: What makes a great manager? Its leaders not only wanted to hire great people but also develop great managers. By researching and analyzing the common leadership traits among its cadre of leaders, Google developed an eight-prong system that has become the framework for management and leadership at the company. Based on this internal research, Google then incorporated its findings into its manager development programs.
When Google promoted these core principles and trained managers to practice them, it experienced multiple improvements related to performance, employee satisfaction and reduced employee turnover. Over time, the company has refined these principles and incorporated additional components, such as employee feedback, to streamline its definition of a great manager. As it expanded its employee base, Google also incorporated employee surveys. The results showed that “Googlers” (its name for employees) wanted their leaders to demonstrate sharper decision-making skills and increased collaboration. Google then refined its original eight behaviors and added two, for a total of 10 behaviors.
So, what are the 10 behaviors that make a great manager? Here are some tips on how your organization can incorporate these tenets into its management training curriculum.
A great manager…
1. Is a Good Coach
Great managers are great coaches who bring out the best in their team members, helping them grow, develop and prosper. Good coaches listen to their employees, incorporate their feedback and demonstrate commitment to the team. Good coaches also share their knowledge in a clear way so that their team members can grow professionally and develop critical leadership skills.
2. Empowers the Team and Does Not Micromanage
No one wants to work for a micromanager. Micromanagement is a roadblock to the team’s success. It creates unnecessary friction and says to the team, “I don’t trust you.” In contrast, empowerment gives employees the freedom to explore, create and thrive. When managers empower employees, they set the tone and strategy and allow them to execute it.
3. Creates an Inclusive Team Environment, Showing Concern for Success and Well-being
An inclusive team environment means everyone has a seat at the table. People want to feel a part of the broader team mission. The manager’s job is to encourage and promote a team mentality and create an environment where everyone feels part of the team. They do so through empathy and authenticity. When managers show genuine concern for their team members, they recognize and feel it.
4. Is Productive and Results-oriented
Good managers are productive and results-oriented. They delegate, but they also do the work. A culture that is results-oriented is a culture that’s organized with clear expectations. There is no confusion about what is expected. Every team member knows his or her role and goals, and the managers have laid out clear expectations. When everyone has a clear path, it’s easier to focus on achieving outstanding results.
5. Is a Good Communicator: Listens and Shares Information
Effective communication is central to effective management. Too many managers lose sight of effective communication and default to a top-down approach. When managers have a clear vision for their team’s goals, they can make sure to communicate their expectations for results and performances. Effective managers don’t only give directives. They listen to their team, accept feedback and share information.
6. Supports Career Development and Discusses Performance
Great managers develop their teams, which means investing in their careers and helping develop professionally. Team members are not only fulfilling a job responsibility; they are also building a career, and the team is part of their journey. Therefore, great managers help them improve and grow. One way they coach employees is to give positive and constructive feedback. When managers can discuss performance with them openly, they can help them target areas for improvement.
7. Has a Clear Vision and Strategy for the Team
Managers don’t only execute. They set the vision and strategy for the team. Without a clear vision, the team cannot execute. It’s the manager’s job to set the vision and then communicate it to their team. Great managers repeat that vision, remind the team of the strategy when they veer off course and help them stay on track by bringing them back to that core vision.
8. Has Key Technical Skills to Advise the Team
It’s hard for a manager to guide the team if he or she doesn’t have the right technical skills. Managers increase credibility when they can practice what they preach.
9. Collaborates Across the Organization
Feedback from Googlers showed they wanted increased collaboration across teams and business units. Every organization has the opportunity for cross-collaboration. Great managers find ways to work with others across teams and business units to create efficiency and improve results.
10. Is a Strong Decision-maker
Employee feedback also showed that Google’s managers needed better decision-making skills. Without effective decision-making, employees lose trust. Strong decision-makers help provide comfort, order and confidence.
Consider implementing these principles into your manager training and development. When you do, you’ll be on the path to higher performance, increased employee satisfaction and lower employee turnover.