22 Apr How good are your management skills? — Take the test, and learn from research-based managerial best practices
The value of a manager has often been underrated. New work philosophies have emerged over the years that often praise a company’s success on a handful of work superstars, and technology geniuses, and would relegate the role of management to a non-value add and unnecessary burden.
Steve Jobs, for example, was quoted in a 1985 interview saying the “greatest people are self-managing, they don’t need to be managed”. (…) We, [once], went and hired a bunch of professional managers, it did not work at all. Much of them were a bunch of bozos”.
Elon Musk was also heard expressing similar frustrations regarding managers in a letter to all his employees in late 2017: “There are two schools of thought about how information should flow. By far the most common way is chain of command, which means that you always flow communication through your manager. The problem with this approach is that, while it enhances the power of the manager, it fails to serve the company.”
In an effort, to innovate on every front, these progressive companies, often informally adopted or drew inspiration from the “lattice organization” as defined by W.L. Gore that lacks “assigned or assumed authority”. Companies such as Pivotal Labs, Zappos, W.L. Gore, claim to work under such management models.
Along the same line of thought, Google in 2002 decided on a whim to get rid of all middle management. It did not fare well. So, in an attempt to learn from their failure, Google put together a task force and conducted control experiments to, as scientifically as possible, determine what distinguished high vs. average or poor performing teams and projects. Over the years, Google continued these in-depth people research studies under different names “Project Oxygen”, “Project Aristotle”… Invariably, these projects found that the role of a manager is critical to the success of a project or team and that certain foundational traits and behaviors of a manager are determinants of a project success.
At BetterManager, we coach managers using the management model derived from these Google studies, as well as Harvard Business School, Gallup and our own research and analysis from coaching many hundreds of managers.