Want To Become a Great Engineering Manager? Here’s How Googlers Do It!
A few years ago, Google came up with a hypothesis that managers add nothing but an extra layer of bureaucracy to its system. The organization tried to prove the same with Project Oxygen. Quite contrary to the expectations, the analysis revealed that managers were intrinsic to Google’s success.
Based on these findings, the tech giant identified five essential characteristics that make up for a great manager:
They are good at coaching and decision making
The command and control style of leadership is no longer effective. The most efficient managers act and think like coaches. They don’t solve problems on the spot but use them as examples to enhance their team’s problem-solving skills. Good managers know that they’re facilitators and not problem-fixers. They consistently share their knowledge with the team members so they can grow professionally and develop leadership skills.
The absence of solid decision-making can paralyze an organization. And thus, great managers are excellent at making decisions and executing plans. They weigh their options carefully, but once they come to a decision, they stand behind it diligently.
Don’t micromanage. Do create an inclusive environment
Great managers do not micromanage employees but empower them to take control of their projects. Such empowerment gives employees the freedom to explore and learn from their experiences. Research shows that empowered employees have higher job satisfaction than others. Moreover, managers who empower others are seen as more influential and inspiring by their subordinates.
All employees want to feel a part of the broader team mission. And thus, high-performing managers strive to create an inclusive environment where anyone can ask a question, experiment, and propose a new idea. Such managers promote team cohesion through empathy, and they exhibit genuine concern for their team members. They are actively engaged in their employees’ success and happiness at work.
The best managers are good at communication and collaboration
Effective communication is intrinsic to high-performance management. Often, managers lose sight of this and fall prey to a top-down approach. Great managers don’t just give directives; they communicate performance expectations to employees with utmost clarity. This way, every team member knows their roles and goals in the organization. Beyond this, great managers listen to their team, accept feedback, and implement it wherever possible.
In a remote business world, collaboration skills are a top priority. Lack of collaboration can hamper a team’s productivity. Great managers know that their team is not an independent unit, and thus, they always find ways to collaborate across teams to enhance the overall output.
They are productive, results-oriented, and have a clear vision
Great managers make productivity a priority—they are efficient delegators and contributors. They consistently measure results and keep the processes to a minimum by equipping employees with productivity-enhancing tools.
Efficient managers have a clear vision for the organization. They have clarity on the goals and objectives required to get there. Most importantly, such managers include employees in the strategy and vision-building process instead of imposing it on them. As a result, these team leaders foster commitment instead of compliance and lead the team towards a shared vision of success.
The best managers have critical technical skills and promote career development
Managers increase their credibility when they practice what they preach. As a result, Google believes that great managers have expertise in the same technical skills their employees must possess. This way, they can guide them through tasks and remove roadblocks.
Lastly, the best managers care about their employees’ careers and growth as much as they care about their own. They provide consistent, constructive feedback to their team members to help them achieve personal and organizational goals. They contribute in ways that help employees thrive in the organization.
Great managers bring out the best in their team members. But being a great manager is so much more than just managing and delegating tasks—it’s a continuous learning process. It is about mobilizing employees, identifying and developing their skills, and channeling them to meet organizational goals. Most importantly, becoming a great manager is about becoming a great leader and driving other employees towards excellence.
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