Google’s How to Build a Better Boss

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Google released a study on what employees believe makes a great boss -- good people skills, active listening and have a clear vision for your team.

We want to understand what works at Google rather than what worked in any other organization,”  Prasad Setty, Google’s vice president for people analytics and compensation, told the New York Times.

Google's team of statisticians created Project Oxygen in 2009, coding and studying what made its leaders more productive. It started with some assumptions, mainly that employee retention is based on three factors: employees feel no connection to the company mission or that their work matters, they don't like or respect coworkers  or they have a terrible boss. The latter seemed to be biggest problem and showed up routinely in manager evaluations.

The study is used to train managers to become better ones by using coaches to change the behavior of the worst-acting managers.

“We were able to have a statistically significant improvement in manager quality for 75 percent of our worst-performing managers,” Laszlo Bock, vice president of people operations for Google.

The results, which may seem obvious to some managers, were ranked in importance.

1. Be a good coach.

2. Empower your team and don't micromanage.

3. Express interest in your team member's success and well-being.

4. Don't be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented.

5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team.

6. Help your employees with career development.

7. Have a clear vision and strategy for your team.

8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team.

While Google's findings may not help everyone, it does give some insight into how a tight-knit, innovative company creates better leaders. Looking at all the pointers, I hope that more managers read them.

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