Project WolverineBroadcasting LIVE from the orbiting command centre

A while ago, Google did some number crunching on the question ‘what makes an effective manager?’.

Google being Google, they wrote an algorithm that crunched thousands of performance evaluations, and came up with 8 things that managers should do.  According to the experts, there’s nothign too surprising here, but it’s interesting to see that Google’s confirmed what people suspected.

The key point for me; technical ability is the last of the eight.

Here are the 8 habits, from most to least important, followed by three ‘bad’ habits.


1. Be a good coach

* Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing negative and positive
* Have regular one-on-ones, presenting solutions to problems tailored to the employee’s strengths

2. Empower your team and don’t micro-manage

* Balance giving freedom to your employees while still being available for advice
* Make “stretch” assignments to help them tackle big problems

3.  Express interest in employees’ success and well-being

* Get to know your employees as people, with lives outside of work
* Make new folks feel welcome, help ease the transition

4.  Be productive and results-oriented

* Focus on what you want the team to achieve and how employees can help achieve it
* Help the team prioritize work, and make decisions to remove roadblocks

5.  Be a good communicator and listen to your team

* Communication is two-way: Both listen and share
* Hold all-hands meetings and be specific about the team’s goals
* Encourage open dialogue and listen to the questions and concerns of your employees

6.  Help your employees with career development

7.  Have a clear vision and strategy for the team

* Even amid turmoil, keep the team focused on goals and strategy
* Involve the team in setting and evolving the team’s vision, goals, and progress

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

* Roll up sleeves and work side-by-side with team, when needed
* Understand the specific challenges of the work


1.  Have trouble making transition to team leader

* Fantastic individual performers are often promoted to manager without the necessary skills to lead
* People hired from outside often don’t understand the specific ways of the company

2.  Lack a consistent approach to performance management and career development

* Doesn’t help employees understand what company wants
* Doesn’t coach employees on how they can develop and stretch
* Not proactive: Waits for the employees to come to them

3.  Spend too little time on managing and communicating


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