After the botched Project Oxygen, a 2002 study that tried to assess why managers didn't matter in an organisation, Google set out to understand the exact opposite: what traits make a good manager?
For a brief time, Project Oxygen even experimented with no managers, who were seen more as an obstruction than facilitators, in pursuit of a flat organisational structure but it didn't work, Inc. reported.
So, the search engine giant decided to do the opposite and find out the common behaviours of their very best managers. The findings were put to use 2010 and the results were impressive, says the report.
According to Laszlo Bock, the then senior vice-president VP of Google, at the results of the study yielded a statistically significant improvement in manager quality for 75 percent of its worst-performing managers.
Two more traits were added to the list over the years. Here are 10 traits that Google believes make the best manager :
1 Coach-like qualities
You must decide if you are someone who cares about employees or you don't. There's no grey zone. If you care, then you'll invest time and energy to help your employees become better versions of themselves.
The other half is knowing that you're a facilitator and not a fixer. Ask good questions, don't just give the answers. This process also includes expanding coachees' point of view versus giving it to them.
2 Do not micromanage
If there is one thing that employees dislike, it is being micromanaged. Research from empowerment expert Gretchen Spreitzer (University of Michigan) showed that empowered employees are more likely to have higher job satisfaction and better organisational commitment, which reduces turnover, increasing performance and motivation.
This is apart from the fact that managers who are seen to be empowering rather than micromanaging are seen as more influential and inspiring by their subordinates.
3 Create an environment of inclusion
To achieve individual fulfillment, sometimes requires a team effort. The best managers facilitate esprit de corps and interdependence.
Employees are also fond of managers who concern themselves with winning and winning well in a way that supports their well-being.
4 Make productivity a priority
If you are in a managerial position, take the productivity of your employees seriously and on priority. Keep the number of processes minimal and empower your employees with the tools to be more productive.
5 Communication is the key
The greatest essential skill to be successful as a manager is to be a good communicator. Invest in communication and care enough to listen.
6 Clear vision, strategy for the team
Without guidance, it is very likely that an employee will sail into the rocks. Make sure you include employees who participate in wanting to build a vision and strategy but it is important not foist it on them. This is because when you force someone to do something it yields compliance and not commitment.
7 Keep the feedback loop open
People crave feedback and as a manager, it is important you give it to them. The best managers care about their people's careers and development as much as they care about their own.
8 Develop the expertise to advise the team
Google wants its managers to have key technical skills (like coding, etc) so they can share the "been there, done that" experience. Apply the same in any managerial role and make sure to build a core expertise in whatever field that may be. This can be done by keeping in close touch with current trends and reading up on all the material you possibly can.
9 Collaboration is essential
In a world that is becoming increasingly remote, collaboration skills have become a priority. Collaboration happens when each team member feels accountability and interdependence with teammates, which is why it is important to be someone who is willing to collaborate.
10 Make strong decisions
The absence of strong decision-making can paralyse an organisation, create uncertainty, lack of focus and even resentment. To make a strong decision, it is important to have a strong sense of self-confidence and belief that a decision, even if proved wrong, is better than none.