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Managing the Google Way

By March 31, 2011 No Comments

Earlier this month, the New York Times published an article on Google’s quest to build a better manager.  The article cited a few “habits,” and a quick Google search (nice plug, huh?) produced the entire list.  What struck me as I read through the list, though, was that nothing really struck me.  I mean… the habits are things I’ve heard before.  Nothing revoluntionary.  Not the outside-the-box management philosophy I expected was being employed at Googleplex.

The more I thought about the seemingly common sense list, the more brillant it became to me.  The habits are simple… that’s the beauty of the list.  It’s not a gimmicky, overnight-manager-makeover type of approach.  It’s sound ideas.  It’s treating people right.  It’s common sense.  Check it…

Google’s 8 Habits of Highly Effective 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


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