Google’s Project Oxygen that started in 2008, is the effort to determine what makes a great manager that works at the company. Based on years of research, it was possible to identify eight key behaviors that the most effective managers at Google exhibited. These findings allowed Google to invest in the training of its managers on behaviors and improve key company statistics such as employee performance, satisfaction, and turnover. Therefore, those who researched the qualities associated with good management proved that effectiveness in this sphere does make a difference. Evaluating the role of the project not only for Google specifically but for organizations overall can be beneficial for revealing some truths regarding effective management in organizational settings.
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The main findings of Project Oxygen are represented through eight essential qualities that effective managers must-have. A good manager has excellent coaching skills, empowers the team without micromanaging, and expresses interest in the personal well-being and success of team members. It was found that effective managers are results-oriented and productive, are good communicators, help with career development, as well as have specific visions and strategies for their teams to accomplish.
In addition, good managers have many technical skills that help them make essential team decisions. Therefore, the combination of eight qualities found by researchers at Google makes managers excellent and effective in what they do (Garvin et al. 2). Those managers who do not give feedback, do not practice coaching and do not know their employees are considered ineffective in the long run.
In the updated version of the list of qualities that good managers should have, there have been some changes and additions for ensuring that results apply to the broadest audience of managers. Two rates that were added include managers collaborating across Google and being solid decision-makers. The third characteristic, expressing interest in personal well-being, was updated to creating an inclusive team environment in which a manager shows concerns for the well-being and success of his or her team members. The sixth characteristic, which was concerned with career development, was also updated to include discussions about performance.
Despite the fact that the results of the study were meant to target managers at Google, the findings suggest that they can be applied to any organizational setting. As mentioned by Solomon et al., workers must be encouraged, motivated, and inspired in order to show high levels of performance (225). Because of this, they are implementing the range of recommendations for successful management from Google can be beneficial for ensuring that workers’ needs are met and that they are led responsibly in the direction of achieving organizational goals. The four management functions – planning, organizing, monitoring, and coaching – are all reflected in the eight qualities and can be used by managers who want to reach top levels of effectiveness in their profession.
To conclude, Google’s Project Oxygen revealed some crucial information on what makes a good manager. Knowing the qualities of effective managers is expected to help to create a positive environment in the workplace and ensure that the expectations of workers regarding their roles in organizations are met. Notably, the findings are universal and are not exclusive to Google despite the research being conducted there. A company of any scope and experience can apply Project Oxygen’s results to its organizational setting to benefit both managers and team members.
Garvin, David, et al. “Google’s Project Oxygen: Do Managers Matter?” Harvard Business School Case, vol. 313, no. 110, 2013, pp. 1-24.
Solomon, Michael, et al. Better Business. Pearson Education, 2017.