Our focus here at Catalyst is about helping people do more Great Work and that’s about stretch, people stepping outside the lines of their job description (good work) and doing the work that really shakes things up a bit and makes a difference for their organisation. Google has an interesting structure when it comes to nurturing great work, people often have a project focus, rather than a job title, in order to keep things fresh, edgy and avoid complacency in the ‘comfort’ of a fixed role.

In 2002, on the basis that many people were used to working by themselves, Google went one step further and asked the question – do we really need managers? So they took the bold and brave step of experimenting without any managers and after a multi year study it was clear the experiment hadn’t worked, the resounding answer was in fact ‘yes’, we do need managers. Out of that study came Google’s list of the top eight attributes of a great manager:

1. Is a good coach.

2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage.

3. Expresses interest for other’s success and personal wellbeing.

4. Is productive and results orientated.

5. Is a good communicator.

6. Helps with career development.

7. Has a clear vision and strategy for the team.

8. Has important technical skills that help him/her advise the team.

So there you have it, in the eyes of Google managers do have a pivotal role. The value of that role of course comes down to how well the manager can focus on people rather than task – are they purposeful or busy, trusting or cautious, nurturing or restricting, challenging or accepting, visionary or drifting?

For the full article in HR Grapevine, here’s the link: