Do You Want to Be a Great Engineering Manager? Here’s How Google Employees Do It!

Google initially proposed that introducing managers to their system would simply serve as an extra layer of bureaucracy. However, with the implementation of Project Oxygen, the company sought to show that this was not the case. Contrary to the preconceived notion, the data they collected showed that having managers was actually essential for Google to reach its desired level of success.

Based on these observations, the technology behemoth identified five critical attributes of a great manager:

They are skilled in coaching and making decisions

The command and control leadership style is no longer seen as an effective method of management. The most successful managers now take on the role of a coach, providing guidance and support rather than attempting to solve problems on the spot. A good manager recognises the importance of facilitating the growth and development of their team, meaning they must be willing to share their knowledge and experience and empower their team members to take on more leadership responsibilities. By doing so, they are ultimately creating a more capable and confident team.

Without effective decision-making, an organisation can become stagnant and unable to move forward. Outstanding managers understand this, and are adept at weighing their options and executing the chosen course of action. They analyse the situation thoroughly and carefully consider their alternatives, but when they make a decision, they are unwavering in their commitment to it.

Avoid micromanagement. Make an inclusive atmosphere

As an effective manager, it is beneficial to provide employees with the autonomy to take ownership of their initiatives. This allows them to explore, experiment, and gain valuable insight from their experiences. Studies have indicated that such empowered workers are generally more satisfied with their jobs than their counterparts. Additionally, supervisors who provide their staff with the autonomy to take charge of their endeavours are seen as more influential and inspiring.

High-performing managers recognise the importance of creating a workplace that encourages employees to feel connected to the organisation’s larger objectives. To this end, these managers strive to create an environment where employees feel free to ask questions, experiment, and present new ideas. Moreover, they show genuine concern for their team’s personal and professional growth, reflecting a commitment to fostering a cohesive and supportive workplace.

The most effective managers excel in communication and teamwork

Effective management of high performance requires effective communication. Poor communication can lead to managers using a top-down approach, where orders are provided without explaining the performance objectives and duties. Great managers, however, understand the importance of engaging with their teams and providing clear objectives for each individual. They also actively listen to their teams and take into account any input that can be used to improve the business. Through effective communication, great managers ensure that everyone understands their roles and can work together to achieve optimal performance.

In the current corporate climate, where many employees are working from home or in different locations, it is essential for teams to have strong collaboration skills. Without effective teamwork, a team’s productivity can suffer. Great managers recognise that their team is not a stand-alone entity and are constantly exploring ways that teams can work together in order to maximise overall productivity.

They are efficient, goal-oriented, and have a clear vision

As an exemplary manager, it is important to prioritise productivity, delegate tasks, and contribute to the team. To ensure that these objectives are being met, it is essential to regularly monitor outcomes and reduce any unnecessary processes by providing staff with tools that can enhance their productivity.

Effective managers possess a clear vision for the company, understanding the targeted goals and objectives to be achieved. Rather than imposing their strategy and vision on their staff, these managers actively involve them in the process, thus fostering commitment rather than mere compliance from their team members. By doing so, they are able to guide their team towards a mutual goal of success.

The top managers have high technical skills and encourage professional advancement

Managers can increase their credibility by demonstrating their knowledge and skills in the same areas as those required of their employees. Google believes that outstanding managers should have the same technical capabilities as their team members, allowing them to guide them through their tasks and remove any obstacles they may encounter.

Ultimately, the most successful managers are invested in the growth and advancement of their colleagues, just as much as they are with their own. They take the time to provide meaningful, constructive criticism to their team in order to assist in the achievement of both individual and collective goals. They recognise that by offering support and encouragement to their team members, they can help create an environment that fosters success for both the individual and the organisation.

As a successful manager, it is essential to recognise that the journey never ends. It is a continual learning process, which requires mobilising personnel, acknowledging and nurturing their abilities, and guiding them to reach their organisation’s goals. Most importantly, it is necessary to become a great leader, motivating and inspiring employees to reach their highest potential. In doing so, great managers are able to bring out the best in their team, allowing them to reach success in an effective and efficient manner.

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