Google's top managers do these 10 things — here's what you can learn from them

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, speaks during the company's 2017 Cloud Next event in San Francisco.
Bloomberg | Getty Images

Making the transition from employee to manager isn't always easy. What makes a good boss? What kind of skills does a manager need for a team to thrive?

Google may just have some answers. The company has spent more than a decade studying management techniques in order to determine the most common behaviors of effective bosses. Its Project Oxygen, launched in 2008, identified the top 10 behaviors of the company's highest-performing managers.

Here are the top 10 behaviors of the best managers at Google:

1. 'Is a good coach'

The top trait of a successful manager at Google is that the person is considered "a good coach" by employees, meaning that they are able to effectively teach and advise employees on how to perform tasks, while offering constructive feedback.

2. 'Empowers team and does not micromanage'

Coaching can require a delicate balance, as the second-ranked trait of good managers at Google is that they do not micromanage employees and, instead, empower their team to take control of their own work and projects. In other words, feedback and advice can be extremely helpful for employees, but they also need to be given enough reign to get their work done without constant interference that can cause delays and hurt performance.

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3. 'Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being'

Employees want to feel valued by their managers, so a good boss takes an active interest in their employees' individual success and happiness with their work.

4. 'Is productive and results-oriented'

Having a clear and established set of goals for your employees can help a manager keep them on track to produce consistent results.

5. 'Is a good communicator — listens and shares information'

Communication skills are necessary for success in nearly any position. In fact, billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said that "one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now — at least — is to hone your communication skills."

6. 'Supports career development and discusses performance'

The best bosses at Google show a vested interest in their employees' growth and future success. Such support can make them happier, more effective workers.

7. 'Has a clear vision/strategy for the team'

A strong manager needs to present employees with clear and articulated goals, along with a road map to achieving them, to ensure that they can work efficiently and at a high level.

8. 'Has key technical skills to help advise the team'

In most cases, a manager needs to have a strong grasp of the same skills their employees must possess in order to advise them on how to best complete their tasks.

9. 'Collaborates across Google'

At a large company like Google, which has thousands of employees working on everything from coding software to network infrastructure, it is essential that managers be able to collaborate with other teams of employees. Kim Scott, a former Google executive who now works as a Silicon Valley CEO coach, tells CNBC that a crucial mistake many bosses make is trying to make every decision themselves, rather than knowing when to rely on the expertise of others.

10. 'Is a strong decision maker'

However, any manager also needs to be decisive. You'll only be wasting your employees' time (and your employer's) by hemming and hawing over an important decision.

Google uses those traits as guidelines for training its own managers and improving their performance. Over the past decade, Google says the company has seen improvements in areas like employees' performance, satisfaction and turnover as a result of Project Oxygen.

Google's list of the top 10 behaviors of the company's highest-performing managers was released in 2018 and was based on internal research at the company as well as feedback from employees.

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