They are called “The Golden Google Rules!” Google is not known as being a management guru organization.  After all, they create things—technical stuff like search engines and productivity tools like Gmail.  They started out with a philosophy of just leaving people alone.  Let the engineers create their wonders.

20% of their work is “free time” in which those creative geniuses have come up with quite a sampling of products. If they hit a snag or get bogged down, then they can approach one of those managers who possesses a deep technical expertise.

So why would they go soft and talk about good bosses and challenged bosses?

Well, for one thing, they now have a house full of Millennials (Gen Y), who value a deeper and more frequent connection from their managers.

We know that organizations with a high degree of connection produce employees that are more engaged, and thus, more productive in their jobs.  They are also less likely to leave their job to go to a competitor with a better environment (which Millennials have been known to do).

In our research we also discovered that Millennials work well on teams.  This results in more shared information, better processes for doing good work, and as a result, better products.

Good managers produce more connection which turns a dog-eat-dog environment into a dog-sled team pulling together and creating synergy.

Google had a code for this research project called Project Oxygen. It was driven by their People Operations which is Googlespeak for human resources.  Rather than their usual mission of inventing the next search algorithm or clever app, their mission was to build a better boss.

It was a two-year study that gathered 10,000 observations of managers across more than 100 variables, numerous performance reviews, and feedback surveys.  They coded and synthesized the results and came up with eight behaviors that described the best bosses.  It’s been called the Eight Habits of Highly Effective Google Managers.

Google’s approach is in alignment with what other companies’ research has shown.  Google’s technical research includes 400 pages of interview notes, yet there is simplicity to these rules.   Managers do not need a personality transplant to apply these.  They make sense on the surface.

All generations respond positively to these eight rules, but they are absolutely essential in managing Millennials.

Check out this list and rate yourself.

  1. Be a good coach
  • Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing the negative and the positive.
  • Have regular one-on-ones, presenting solutions to problems tailored to your employees’ specific strengths.
  1. Empower your team and don’t micromanage
  • Balance giving freedom to your employees, while still being available for advice.
  • Make stretch assignments to help the team tackle big problems.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 to prioritize work and use seniority to remove roadblocks.
  1. Be a good communicator and listen to your team.
  • Communication is two-way: you both listen and share information.
  • Hold all-hands meetings and be straightforward about the messages and goals of the team.  Help the team connect the dots.
  • Encourage open dialogue and listen to the issues and concerns of your employees.
  1. Help your employees with career development.
  • Millennials will stick to you like glue.
  1. 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 teams vision and making progress toward it.

“People embrace what they help create”

  1. 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 challenges of the work (empathy?).

Pretty simple to understand, yet sometimes it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference.  If you want your people to be happy and productive,

  • Make sure you have time for them
  • Be consistent
  • Involve them in the process
  • Don’t assume they understand the goal, and
  • Be fair.

Most managers communicate.  The good ones connect.

Google’s Project Oxygen is a breath of fresh air 🙂

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