Over the weekend, I was reading a New York Times piece that highlighted Google’s 8 Habits of Effective Members (aka their Quest to Build a Better Boss). It was a fascinating article that synthesized a lot of research Google’s People team had done, analyzing their own internal data on what makes an effective manager.
Government isn’t Google (no ping pong tables yet), but there’s a lot we can learn from these habits. That’s why I thought I would analyze these 8 Habits from Google and describe what they mean for government managers.
EIGHT HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE MANAGERS (from Google)
1. Be a good coach.
* Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing negative and positive. I find in government sometimes we default to focus just on positive, but people need constructive criticism.
* Don’t wait for the end of year review. Have regular 1-on-1s to discuss existing problems and figure out some solutions.
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 – put them on the high stakes political project.
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 – take them to lunch, check on them daily, grab a coffee.
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. Are there certain steps in a normal process that can be skipped? Help move the project past a roadblock.
5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team
* Communication is two-way: both listen and share. I always say you should share at least 2x more than you think you should share. The moment you think you’ve overshared, share 2x more. People always want more.
* Hold all-hands meetings regularly. if you can’t fit your whole team in a room, at least send out notes from the meeting and have ability the to get questions answered. Be specific about meeting – and the team’s – goals.
* Encourage open dialogue and listen to the questions and concerns of your employees. Don’t brush off concerns – truly listen.
6. Help your employees with career development.
* Share training events (there are lots of free ones when budgets are tight) &and map networking opportunities to help your employees grow in their career.
* Understand where your employees want to go in their career and provide them experiences/skills to get there.
7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team.
* Even amid political changes and budget issues, keep the team focused on goals and strategy
* Have team involved in setting and evolving the team’s vision, goals, and progress through workshops, office sites, and visual measurement of progress
8. Have key technical skills, so you can help advise the team
* Work side-by-side with you team when needed. For example, if you are a law enforcement agency, go out on a bust.
* Understand the specific challenges of the work. For example, if you manage people who perform acquisition tasks, understand acquisition. If you don’t understand, roll up your sleeves and learn at least the basics.
How many of these 8 habits are you using?
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