" What employees valued most were even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers."



Mark's picture
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New and good thinking on management from someone who (perhaps mistakenly) people will listen to.



newicz's picture

Interesting article on its approach to improve managers from a company that takes data seriously, to be sure.

"Although people are always looking for the next new thing in leadership,” he said, “Google’s data suggest that not much has changed in terms of what makes for an effective leader."

Thanks for posting,


jhack's picture

A worthwhile read.  A lot of the recommendations will be familiar to MT members (one on ones, feedback, coaching...), but the interesting part is Google's "not invented here" approach.  They had to do their own research (over 100,000 observations, with statistical analysis across over 100 variables, 400 pages of interview notes) before they would accept what many in management elsewhere already knew. 

For those of you wondering if there is research to back up Manager Tools:  here it is. 

What's dramatic for Google is that this runs counter to their historical approach, which had prized technical skill as the #1 priority for a manager (how else can the manager lead the team, if not by expert power?)   The "People Operations" team (aka, HR) now realizes that relationship power is the most critical. 

In their study, technical skill ranked dead last. 

John Hack

DCochrane's picture
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eagerApprentice's picture

I Agree with earlier comments - there is SO much noise from other "experts" out there that just seems to miss the mark to me.

It's good to see that the hard data from their work here seems to confirm what I learned here. :)




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hmcwheeler's picture

I put a Navy Leadership Spin on this in a blog post.

TNoxtort's picture

I saw this in the Things I Think. One question, what does "Hold all hands meetings" mean that the Google managers did that was considered effective?

calangst's picture

I really liked the MT newsletter item about this.  My spouse has worked for the New York Times for more than 15 years and it would be fair to say that at the front line, MTesque level they are badly managed.  Among other things their culture gives no respect to management - either to those who provide it or those who need it.  Other papers around the country are even worse, but the Grey Lady could sure use some of this Googly data-based advice.

bug_girl's picture

I was really taken aback by the language used in that article:

Sissy is a word used to disparage boys for being feminine; or girls for being too feminine.  An awful lot of gay men I know spent many years being beat up for being a "sissy."  I am a rare woman working in agricultural science, and taunts of "sissy" are common.  (until they get to know me ;)

Why not just say "Be productive and results oriented."

There was no need for a gendered slur in that list. 


Mark's picture
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1. Chief Wheeler:  Nice post.  I like the way you compared Rose and LaRussa, and it's an important point too many don't get. 

2. Art: "Hold All Hands" can mean a couple of things.  I *THINK* in this case it means it in the standard sense, which is a director (manager of managers) calling everyone in her organization together to make some announcements, and answer questions.  It's sort of like our skip level meetings.  it could also mean that they want bosses holding staff meetings - that would be an all hands meeting if you were at the lowest level of management.  In general, they're saying, keep everyone posted on stuff.  Communication - who knew?

3. Bug Girl - It caught me a bit, too. 

It is possible they felt it was an old enough derogatory appellation as to have lost the sense of being a slur.  That said, my mac's dictionary lists it as offensive.  While your comments suggest it is not that old, the reason it caught me was that I hadn't heard it since I was a child.

What surprised ME was that the TIMES was using it, a bastion of language mavens.  I have a guess that they were INCORRECTLY putting words in Google's mouth, and their lack of understanding of business and management caused them to lose touch with their own standards.  I suppose it's also possible they were quoting something from Google... in which case to change it would have been editorializing.  I doubt that's so...but not sure.

I recommend you write them and tell them so.  Would be very interesting if it were Google's usage.  A larger story there, I would think.