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The results of Google’s “Project Oxygen” have been reported all over the place in the last week. The London Evening Standard and the New York Times both carried this, follow the[read more]

Googles eight rules for great managers

Google gets IT management

The results of Google’s “Project Oxygen” have been reported all over the place in the last week. The London Evening Standard and the New York Times both carried this, follow the link to see the full article.

It’s a great story, put simply they discovered that great technologists did not necessarily make great team leads (see also our blog from July 2010) .

How did they find this out?

  1. First they realised that as an organisation they had lost something they once had. Google was no longer the perfect place for engineers to work.
  2. Then they found out what their staff (especially engineers) were saying about what it was like working for many Google managers.

Too often we switch off to the first – that is we stop looking critically at ourselves so that we are open to what is really going on. We cling to our view of how the organisation (or our team) was last year, 5 years ago, or maybe last decade!

So if we do open our eyes and find out that something has changed, that we have lost something good, then we have to find out more. We need to ask questions and listen to people on the ground, staff, customers, middle managers. People who have a different perspective to ours. People who will not be looking through our rose tinted glasses.

And then…….well we have to do something about it.

Google published its list of Good management Behaviours – its eight “Rules”. see below) and they seem like a fantastic start – the question I’m interested in now, is “what would you do to implement these eight rules?”

If these aren’t just “motherhood and apple pie” then how would you go about transforming the behaviours of thousands of team leads and managers to do these eight things?

I’d like to think that they will start with a coaching and development programme that will teach and then embed these behaviours;

Followed by a programme that will teach and embed the identification, nurture and promotion of those who show they really do get this stuff.

Googles Eight Rules – Eight Good Behaviours

1.) Be a good coach. Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing the negative and the positive. Have regular one-on-ones, presenting solutions to problems tailored to your employees’ specific strengths.

2.) Empower your team and don’t micromanage. Balance giving freedom to your employees, while still being available for advice. Make “stretch” assignments to help the team tackle big problems.

3.) Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being. Get to know your employees as people, with lives outside of work. Make new members of your team feel welcome and help ease their transition.

4.) Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented. Focus on what employees want the team to achieve and how they can help achieve it. Help the team prioritize work and use seniority to remove roadblocks.

5.) Be a good communicator and listen to your team. Communication is two-way: you both listen and share information. Hold all-hands meetings and be straightforward about the messages and goals of the team. Help the team connect the dots. Encourage open dialogue and listen to the issues and concerns of your employees.

6.) Help your employees with career development.

7.) Have a clear vision and strategy for the team. Even in the midst of turmoil, keep the team focused on goals and strategy. Involve the team in setting and evolving the team’s vision and making progress toward it.

8.) Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team. Roll up your sleeves and conduct work side by side with the team, when needed. Understand the specific challenges of the work.