How to be a good boss: 10 inevitable traits according to Google

Thanks to the Oxygen Project, Google identifies 10 fundamental characteristics that a good manager should have to obtain maximum satisfaction. Let’s find out what they are.

It is not every day that one of the most influential companies in the world claims that managers are not all that important to the success of a business. Still, that’s exactly what Google did at the start of its Oxygen Project.

Big G’s hypothesis was that the quality of managers is not fundamental and that managers are at best a necessary evil, at worst they are just an additional, superfluous layer of bureaucracy. The Oxygen Project began in 2002 with a very radical experiment, namely the structuring of a flat organization, without a manager.

The experiment lasted just a few months: the employees without a guide ended up behaving like beheaded chickens who wandered around at random, unable to handle even the simplest situations.

At that point, Google completely reversed the course, and focused all efforts on trying to outline the traits and behaviors common among its best managers, those with the highest returns. On the basis of this internal study, Google then set up its managerial development programs, arriving over the course of a decade – also and above all through constant employee feedback – to define 8 characteristics that distinguish (and therefore must have) a successful manager.

Google saw major improvements in turnover, performance and satisfaction of its management team, with a significant improvement in quality by 75% of those who initially performed less well.

After further analysis, 2 other fundamental characteristics were identified, thus coming to obtain

The 10 inevitable traits for a good boss, according to Google

1 – Be a good coach

There is no middle ground: either you take care of your collaborators or you don’t. If you do, it means that you invest time and energy to bring your travel companions to grow and improve themselves.

50% of what it means to be a good coach is basically this. The remaining 50% is aware that this improvement process must be facilitated and not imposed.

A good coach helps others develop their potential.

2 – Encourage the decision-making power of the team and not intervene on everything

Nobody likes to feel constantly controlled and deprived of any decision-making power. Gretchen Spritzer, a researcher at the University of Michigan and an expert in leadership development, confirms that employees who have been given more freedom of decision show higher satisfaction with the work they do and a greater sense of duty and responsibility towards the ‘company, they perform better and are more motivated.

A manager who encourages team decision-making is also more influential and is perceived as a role model by his subordinates.

Less control + more freedom of decision = win win .

3 – Create an inclusive work environment, oriented to the interest of the whole team

Individual satisfaction often arises from a common effort. Individuals feel strong gratification in being part of a winning team.

The best managers are able to stimulate team spirit and interdependence, and employees are much more likely to rely on a team success-oriented manager, because they know they will benefit and be satisfied.

4 – Be productive, proactive and focused on goals

The productivity of your employees must be taken very seriously, but a good manager must also be able to provide the tools and opportunities for them to develop it. You have to limit the process to a minimum, i.e. the different steps that separate your employee from achieving the goal. Don’t just set goals and wait for them to be met, but teach your employees – or otherwise empower them to learn – how to achieve them.

5 – Be a good communicator: listen and share information

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The main problem in communication is the delusion that it happens when it doesn’t.

Communication is often lacking or even absent because neither of the two interlocutors – in this case the manager and the team – is committed enough. You need to prove that you are a good communicator by making sure your messages reach the sender clearly, and by investing some of your time in listening to your collaborators.

AG Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, said 90% of his work was dedicated to internal communication. With specific reference to the next point.

6 – Give your team a clear vision / strategy

Imagine you are at the helm of a ship. Without a clear vision and strategy, your entire team will end up stranded or wrecked on the rocks. You need to stimulate your collaborators to build and share a common vision. It will not be enough to impose yours on him. The important thing is to reiterate this common strategy, to ensure that it is always clear and shared by all.

7 – Encourage position advancements and question performance

The best managers care about their employees’ career advancement as much and as much about their own. People need constant feedback, and you are there to give it to them.

Your collaborators do not work only to arrive at an incentive or a production bonus, but they do it to reach their goals, to grow and improve themselves on a personal level. Help them harness their potential and advance their careers. You will have more and more trained and motivated collaborators, who have shared and share with you the interests of the whole company.

8 – Acquire the fundamental skills to be able to communicate with the team

One of the cornerstones of Google is that its managers have the basic technical skills (programming, marketing, innovation, etc.) to be able to be “in the same boat” with their employees. If there is a problem, a good manager does not just say “Your job, your problem”, but must be able to speak the same language to arrive at a solution together or, if nothing else, to understand the value of the work of each single team member.

Try to keep yourself up to date on the trends in your sector, and document yourself whenever you have the opportunity to be able to always stay on the piece exactly as you expect – and make sure – that your collaborators are.

9 – Be collaborative

In an increasingly globalized and interconnected working scenario, in which people and teams work on common projects also and more and more at a distance, the spirit of collaboration is increasingly indispensable. We can speak of collaboration when each team member demonstrates responsibility and interdependence towards teammates.

There is nothing more devastating for a team than an administrator who puts a spoke in the wheel because he is unable to collaborate, for example, with another department. This creates that exclusive “It is our sole responsibility” attitude that heavily undermines any form of corporate culture, spirit of body, productivity and results.

10 – Make your own decisions (and take responsibility for them)

An indecisive manager can paralyze an entire organization, not only from an operational point of view, but also and above all because a behavior will be a source of doubts, uncertainties, lack of perspective, disappointment and even resentment.

Important decisions must be made with resolve, therefore the manager must have confidence in himself and in his choice. Having made a strong and motivated decision, even if it turns out to be wrong in the end, will always be better than not having made any. When it’s time to act, just do it.

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