The New York Times recently ran a nice article about how Google–in its usual highly-analytic, data-driven way–measured the results of different management behaviors amongst its own workforce. The recommendations that emerged from this research will be familiar to readers of this blog.

I wish these were practiced as often as I preach them!




Google’s Project Oxygen

Eight Good Behaviors

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

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

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.

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

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

Help your employees with career development.

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.

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, especially the unique challenges of the work to be done.