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Facebook HR exec explains why the best managers act like air-traffic controllers

Air Traffic Controller
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The best bosses at Facebook stay out of the way.

"We use managers like air-traffic controllers here," says Tudor Havriliuc, Vice President of Compensation, Benefits and Global Mobility at Facebook. "We think of them more like the people who fix the things that might not be working for the individual contributors on their teams."

In other words, successful bosses ensure that the planes are taking off on time, but they're not in the cockpit micromanaging the pilot.

Havriliuc spoke with CNBC in advance of Glassdoor's Best Places to Work Roadshow, at which Facebook will reveal some of the strategies that have made it a magnet for top-tier talent.

"We expect leadership at every level of the organization." -Tudor Havriliuc, VP, Compensation, Benefits and Global Mobility, Facebook

He says this approach to management not only allows employees to feel both independent and supported in their work, it encourages them to step up and act as air-traffic controllers themselves when need be.

"The truth is that we expect leadership at every level of the organization," he says.

Facebook also recognizes that not all great employees feel called to management, and promotions in the company are not necessarily tied to increased leadership responsibilities. Some employees prefer to focus on deepening specialized skills, and the company's structure allows them to advance independently.

"You can become someone that is just astounding from a technical perspective and has reached the apex of their career," says Havriliuc. "You don't have to optimize, if you want career growth, for becoming a people leader. You can stay an individual contributor."

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