What Google Learnt About Good Management (1min read)

Work Rules

Silicon Valley engineers are notoriously difficult to manage. Google even went so far as to get rid of all management positions at one point, but soon realised the ensuing chaos was worse than having management. Still not happy with the old system, they embarked on numerous experiments to determine what makes a good manager. They tracked managers performance across projects, and found that the best had the following 8 characteristics:

  1. Is a good coach
  2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage
  3. Expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being
  4. Is productive and results-oriented
  5. Is a good communicator—listens and shares information
  6. Helps with career development
  7. Has a clear vision and strategy for the team.
  8. Has key technical skills that help him or her advise the team

Note that the least important is technical skills. Laszlo Bock, the head of people operations at Google, discusses this and a lot more in his book, “Work Rules! Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead”. His more general work rules are:

  1. Give your work meaning
  2. Trust your people
  3. Hire only people better than you
  4. Don’t confuse development with managing performance
  5. Focus on the two tails (best and worst performers)
  6. Be frugal and generous
  7. Pay unfairly (i.e. pay up for stars)
  8. Nudge (small changes make big differences)
  9. Manage the rising expectations
  10. Enjoy! And then go back to No. 1 and start again.



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