A Good Manager

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How to be a Good Manager

Google found that manager quality drives performance, retention, and happiness. In addition, manager quality is the single best predictor of whether employees stay or leave, which supports the adage that people don’t quit companies, they quit bad managers.

What Does Being a Good Manager Entail?

Google research showed eight common attributes that are shared by high-scoring managers and not exhibited by low-scoring managers:

  1. Be a good coach.
  2. Empower the team and don’t micromanage.
  3. Express interest/concern for team members’ success and personal well-being.
  4. Be very productive and results-oriented.
  5. Be a good communicator. Listen and share information.
  6. Help the team with career development.
  7. Have a clear vision/strategy for the team.
  8. Have important technical skills that help advise the team.

Here is another interesting tidbit; research by Duncan Watts, a Columbia University sociologist who is now a principal researcher for Microsoft Research, found that email response time is the single best predictor of whether employees are satisfied with their boss. The longer it takes for a boss to respond to their emails, the less satisfied people are with their leader.

When 79% of employees who leave a job voluntarily cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for their quitting, a good manager also knows how to express authentic appreciation with open body language.

Are You A Good Manager?

When I worked as an employee at a company I had a yearly review. I couldn’t understand why I was not asked to review my manager. It baffled me! Why didn’t upper management want to know about their managers? If I were in upper management, I would want to know.

Laszlo Bock published Google’s manager feedback questionnaire in “Work Rules! Insights from inside Google that will transform how you live and lead” and I love it! Employees were asked to rate their managers on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree) on these statements:

  • My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance.
  • My manager does not “micromanage” (i.e. get involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  • My manager shows consideration for me as a person.
  • My manager keeps the team focused on our priority results/deliverables.
  • My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leadership.
  • My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about my career development in the past six months.
  • My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  • My manager has the technical expertise required to effectively manage me.
  • I would recommend my manager to other employees.

How do you rate as a manager? How would you rate yourself?


Laszlo Bock, Work Rules! Insights from inside Google that will transform how you live and lead

Gary Chapman & Paul White, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

Duncan Watts, “Using Digital Data to Shed Light on Team Satisfaction and Other Questions About Large Organizations,” Organizational Spectroscope, April 1, 2016