How to become an Effective Manager
A recent article in the New York Times outlined research by Google on over 10,000 management interventions such as awards and performance reviews. The results highlighted the key attributes that Google reinforces in its managers, and in particular the skills required to transition from being a team member to becoming a team manager. Googles’ internal management training on these skills improved under performance by 75%.
Happily Googles’ list mirrors our own research, experience and management development content over 14 years at Natural Talent. Our Executive Coaching and Management and Leadership Development programmes incorporate the same key management skills, with a few additions:
It is refreshing to note that, as we teach at Natural Talent, Google has identified that the most important element of being an effective manager is a need to adopt more of a Coaching style; this includes having high emotional intelligence, delivering positive as well as constructive feedback, adapting communication style, practising Active Listening and Open Questioning.
Google also found that having a ‘growth mindset’ is proven to improve a managers’ performance. This is similar to having a Positive Mental Attitude and ‘Can Do’ attitude. If a manager/leader believes that they can learn a skill, practice new competencies and behaviours, accept and deal with challenges, then their confidence and performance improve.
We have all come across individuals who groan and/or roll their eyes when another new set of company values are introduced. Rather than imposing a set of organisational values, Google encourages its managers to utilise their own value system to define their management style. Similarly, when utilising a Personality Questionnaire, such as the Strength Deployment Inventory, a leader/manager can identify their own motivational value system in order to assist them in adapting their style, making the tough calls, and leading and managing through change.
Decision making is another key attribute Google believes accounts for effective management and involves identifying key stakeholders, communicating the root cause of problems, and aligning solutions with the vision and strategy. They also encourage employing the techniques of SMART Decision Making which we advocate.
Google acknowledges that the transition to manager is a challenge and, as we advise at Natural Talent, it is beneficial to discuss key issues with peers, as well as with your Executive Coach. The feedback we receive from our facilitated sessions for Boards, SLTs and recently promoted managers, always mentions the immense value that leaders and managers derive from being open and honest about key business challenges and personal development areas in a confidential, facilitated safe environment with their peers.
In addition to Googles’ list we would reiterate the following skills and competencies required when managers are promoted and asked to ‘step up’ and become more effective:
- Developing executive presence
- Managing Conflict
- Developing Resilience
- Prioritising Workload
- Communicating and aligning the Vision, Mission and Strategy with key objectives and tasks
- And lastly, but by no means the least important – Managing Upwards!