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8 Behaviors of Good Managers, According to Google

As an employer, Google has earned a reputation. They are known for their work culture, their perks, and their parental leave policiesBusiness Insider even put them at the top of their list of the world’s most attractive employers for 2015. What’s Google’s secret? Using data to improve employee engagement and management technique.
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Data Drives Decisions at Google

Google has been using data to drive decision-making processes for some time. They’ve used data collected through surveys to better understand their company culture and make decisions that are in the best interest of the company and its workers. They’ve also trained others to apply tools and methods like Google Analytics to improve their businesses.

“In this new world, you will have a much better business if your decisions are data driven,” Babak Pahlavan, Product Manager Director for Google Analytics, told Harvard Business Review in 2013. “In order for it to be data driven, you have to be empowered with tools that are easy to use but also powerful enough that it can actually lead you to proper decisions.”

Project Oxygen: Unexpected Results

A recent article from Entrepreneur explored Google’s use of data to improve employee engagement, highlighting the company’s Project Oxygen. Originally rolled out in 2008 with the goal of proving that manager quality didn’t affect performance, Project Oxygen wound up showing just the opposite. The results encouraged the company to investigate what makes managers most effective.

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In the end, Google arrived at an eight-point list of behaviors good managers exhibit:

  1. Be a good coach
  2. Empower the team and do not micromanage
  3. Express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being
  4. Be productive and results-oriented
  5. Be a good communicator — listen and share information
  6. Help with career development
  7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
  8. Use key technical skills to advise the team

The Takeaways For Managers:

  • Employee surveys are most valuable when they’re utilized to make real decisions and changes.
  • Employee engagement is important and should be a priority in any organization.
  • Soft skills matter, especially ones concerning communication — it’s not all about hard skills like technology. Good managers know how to effectively share their ideas, and they know how to listen.
  • Leaders have a vision for their team and the company, and they have a strategy for how to get there.
  • Good managers have positive connections and supportive interactions with their team members. (Items 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 all pertain to this matter.) When it comes to being a great manager, relationships mean a lot.

Tell Us What You Think

What qualities do you think are the most essential in a good manager? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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