Updated: Dec 18, 2020
When in need,
Google's got it. I just finished reading an excellent article on the demystification of good management skills as supported by data and research culled by Google. Google, known for its forward thinking and powerful organizational culture, has identified the secrets to successful new management roles. Thought provoking for me was the skills necessary to get the promotion to management is often not what is necessary to fill the role. Yes, we've all been in the position of having the skill sets of an individual contributor but often those same skill sets for a management role do not convey. Google reported a statistically significant improvement in 75 percent of its underperforming managers after implementing their program that features these 6 attributes.
1. Mindset and values Google encourages its managers to develop a growth mindset. As opposed to a fixed mindset (the belief that skills and abilities are predetermined), individuals with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be cultivated. This simple idea develops leaders who are more eager to learn, challenge themselves, and experiment, and it eventually boosts their performance. Although success will always require tenacity, hard work, and concentration, this research suggests these traits are byproducts of a quality that underpins them, optimism.
Also, Google encourages its managers to identify values and leverage them within their management styles. The purpose is not to impose set values, but rather to empower leaders to leverage their individual morals to drive deeper meaning and impact to their work. Managers have to make tough decisions. When faced with uncertainty, values can be a manager's saving grace.
2. Emotional intelligence (E.I.) E.I. is the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and leverage this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. In other words, it's a heightened sense of self-awareness.Managers who are self-aware make better decisions, communicate more effectively, and are more relatable.
3. Manager transition All right, so this one doesn't seem like an attribute. However, if you take a look at Google's new manager training facilitator's guide, you'll notice some common themes. As instructors encourage new supervisors to share their transition challenges and frustrations with their peers, they simultaneously teach that it's OK to be vulnerable and honest. As managers open up and tell their stories, others chime in with advice and guidance providing actionable new strategies. It's important for all managers to know that you're not in this alone. Others have faced similar challenges and can help -- if you let them.
4. Coaching Google defines good coaching as:
giving timely and specific feedback;
delivering hard feedback in a motivational and thoughtful way;
tailoring approaches to meet individual communication styles in regular one-on-one meetings;
practicing empathetic "active" listening and being fully present;
being cognizant of your own mindset and that of the employee; and
asking open-ended questions to discover an employee's acumen.
5. Feedback Managers' words have the power to build or destroy. Google understands this sensitivity and teaches its supervisors to be consistent (free from bias) when delivering feedback across their teams, to balance positive (motivational) and negative (developmental) feedback, to be authentic and appreciative, and to state growth opportunities in a clear, compassionate way.
6. Decision making To ensure judgments aren't made in a vacuum, Google established a routine to help managers make better decisions. This framework includes asking and articulating:
What are you solving for, and is everyone on the same page? (Identify and communicate the root cause.)
Why is it important? (Does it support other business goals?)
Who is the decision maker?
How will the decision be made?
When can people expect a decision? (Keep stakeholders in the loop, and manage expectations.)
Also, to ensure informed decisions are made, Google encourages managers to test their ideas out loud and collect feedback by explicitly advocating for their opinions (voicing individual views, reasoning, and providing data), testing their understanding by inquiring about others' perspectives (soliciting ideas and feedback), and then synthesizing the responses to ensure a comprehensive understanding before making a decision.
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