The benefit of having good managers in a company is oft debated. In 2002 Google simply eliminated all their managers, because they believed they were unnecessary.
That step was a disaster, so Google conducted a research project named the “Oxygen Project” to determine the qualities that make a great manager. Their finding highlighted that the qualities that make a manager great are:
- Form a clear strategy based on the company’s vision
- Ability to communicate
- Be a good coach and guide to the team
- Help employees grow and develop their careers
- Enable team members and not micromanage them.
- Care about employee’s well being
- Be productive and focused on results
- Possess key technical skills that benefit everyone on the team
But all these findings seem very obvious. The real use of the research was that statistical findings directly correlated these qualities to employee performance, customer satisfaction, revenue, and turnover etc. But what do these qualities can these be implemented and executed, rather than simply theorized?
The answer perhaps lies in Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), a tool that Google itself implements along with other big companies like Amazon, Deloitte, Samsung as not just goal-setting framework but perhaps the way to enhance their managers effectiveness.
Setting Team Goals
One of the most important roles of the manager is to set goals or objectives for the team. These objectives need to align the manager’s strategy to achieve the company’s vision. Such objectives can help establish a culture of execution in the company. Further setting aspirational goals can cause the employees to be inspired, strive to perform better, and grow in the process. Using Objectives and Key Results to set a few key objectives quarterly for their teams in alignment with the company’s vision is the best way to ensure productive teamwork.
Ability to Communicate and Coach
The importance of teamwork is not lost on anyone. However, a manager’s individual relation with every team member is equally important. Statistics show that 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with employees. Sometimes it is hard to communicate to individuals the work that is expected of them. Using OKRs to set goals will enable better communication between the team member and the manager. Further doing quarterly OKR reviews will enable all the team members working under the manager to communicate better with one another and see what others are doing and how they can contribute to the progress to achieve company objectives.
Being Execution and Result Focused.
This is the single most important aspect of management. A company that isn’t execution oriented is definitely one that will fail. As the Harvard Business Review States, visions, revolutionary ideas, and the best of strategies are only as good as their execution. And OKRs are one of the best ways to convert strategies into actionable plans. Setting specific, well-defined objectives, and monitoring the executing based on Key Results, can cause managers to effectively lead their teams to excel.
The role of a manager is indispensable however the attributes that a manager must process to successfully carry out his responsibilities are of even more significance. While training, guidance and support help them perform better, what truly makes them great is the ability to enable their teams to execute aspirational objectives into reality. This can only be possible through a strict discipline of goal setting, execution, and performance reviews. All these processes are better achieved by technical skills, and adaptation of tools and services. OKRs happen to be one of the best tools to assist managers through this entire process. Managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement and are easily the makers or breakers of a company. Building great managers with the right tools for success is the only path forward for any company seeking to be not just good, but great.