What Google's project Oxygen can tell you about great management

Published on : 2nd March 2021

What Google's project Oxygen can tell you about great management

In 2008, Google establish Project Oxygen, which was an internal research report dedicated to finding the top skills exhibited by good managers - they boiled it down to eight. The list was revisited in 2018 and two more were added. A thriving career in management depends on offering the maximum utility and support to those within your team, and understanding the key traits of good managers plays a key element in the recruitment process too.

It's of the utmost importance then to understand what makes a good manager.

The ten qualities of a good manager

The list of good management traits established by Google's Project Oxygen is as follows:

# Is a productive coach
# Empowers team without micro-managing
# Cultivates an inclusive team environment
# Productivity and results-driven
# Strong communication skills
# Supporter of career development
# Direct and clear strategic vision
# Key technical skills to share with the team
# Excels in cross-department collaboration
# A quick and direct decision-maker

What conclusions can be drawn? What is notable from the list is that only two are directly related to technical/industry skills. The rest are "soft" skills, which indicates a conclusion that good management traits are consistent across sectors and businesses.

Something else to note is that emphasis is placed on a manager's willingness and ability to encourage and support team members on an individual as well as group level. 

Cultivating an environment where clear goals for progression are established, and where individuals feel they are receiving individual attention and assistance, is a cornerstone of successful team management.

Similarly, there is an emphasis on providing team members with direction, strategy, clear vision, and ongoing assistance - but micro-management is to be discouraged at every turn. 

Empowerment is not a cue for a "hands-off" approach to management, however. The key trait of a good manager is to inspire confidence in their team that they can always ask for assistance whenever and however they need it.

The importance of good management

Managers are an essential part of any organisation's progress and ongoing development. Taking note of the traits established by Project Oxygen can give businesses of all kinds invaluable insight into the management styles they should focus on cultivating.