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Hard numbers on soft skills

Google is all about the numbers. Questioning the value of management, the Googlers founded Project Oxygen to investigate the characteristics of successful and less successful managers.

Employee surveys and performance reviews pinpointed eight key behaviors of the company’s most effective managers.

A good manager:

1. Is a good coach
2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage (See the sidebar “How Google Defines One Key Behavior”)
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

Now each manager receives specific feedback on items such as:

“My manager has frequent 1:1′s.”

“My manager provides difficult feedback constructively.”

“My managers helps me understand how my work impacts the organization.”

Managers’ scores have been rising across the organization.

For more information, see David Garvin’s HBR article How Google Sold Its Engineers on Management

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