Initially Google thought if they hired really smart people they would support each other and the teams would do great things together.

I was recently talking to Judy Finn, the director of marketing for iTacit Healhcare, a Senior Housing Forum partner, about how their cloud-based software platform allows managers to use technology to help develop and engage staff. As a part of that discussion I asked her what makes a great manager.

She referred me to Google’s Project Oxygen, an analysis Google conducted about 5 years ago to identify the 8 behaviors of great managers.  Initially Google thought if they hired really smart people they would support each other and the teams would do great things together. Over time they found some teams performed better than others and it wasn’t that the better performing teams had brighter people, but rather they worked more effectively together; in other words, they were better managed.

One of the reasons why Judy and the iTacit team really like this set of behaviors is that while they have worked great for Google and could apply to any technology company, they are equally applicable to senior living.

8 Behaviors & Senior Living

  1. Be a good coach – There are many great opportunities for coaching in senior living. Some staff have managed a facility for years, and they have so much to share with younger or new-to-senior care colleagues. Google’s report highlights the importance of one-to-one communication. But often in senior care, a manager may not work the same shifts as all the staff. That’s where communication technology such as iTacit offers can do so much to promote good coaching without having to be in the same place at the same time.
  2. Empower; don’t micromanage – This means letting people go do their job, which is tough because people will make mistakes, but as they figure things out they will be more effective and like their jobs better.
  3. Be interested in direct reports’ success and well-being – This is a huge deal. This means being interested in both their professional and personal lives. The question you perhaps need to ask is this:  If one of my direct reports was promoted out from under me (or took a higher level position with another organization) would I celebrate their success or be mad?
  4. Be productive and results-oriented – Sometimes managers are petty and spend their time fiddling . . . really doing nothing to improve the organization. Perhaps each day needs to be approached asking the question, what do I need to do to move my organization forward today.
  5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team – This is so important because team members will see problems first and will oftentimes have the best solutions. Many employees don’t have company email, so they may be out of the communication loop. ITacit gives each employee a way to communicate to the broader organization – via a computer Message Center, email, or text.
  6. Help your employees with career development – There is a belief that people are mostly happy in their current jobs . . . and this may be true for some people. But good team members want to grow. It may be that someone will not want a higher position, but it does not mean they do not want to learn more or get better at what they are doing. Do you know what each of your employees career goals are? Do you have ideas about how you can help them get there?

    Many iTacit customers give employees access to all kinds of online training – even content that’s not within their immediate job description. They’ve found that many staff seek to learn new areas – on their own time – to be more informed, to start learning a new role, or just to be better at their job.

  7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team  –  This can be a tough thing in senior living where often it feels like we do the same thing each day. But there are always new things your community can be doing to improve the resident experience. There should always be a few initiatives that can involve all or most of your team members.
  8. Have key technical skills so you can advise the team  –  For senior living this may mean as a manager you need to be reading stuff in and out of the industry. This also means knowing how to do the work ALL your employees do. You need to spend time in their shoes, so you understand how to do their job.

    The important thing to note about #8 is . . . it’s #8. Skill is not #1. There are seven higher priority behaviors Google found impacted managerial success.

The final thing to notice is that the behaviors have one thing in common — a manager who is deeply committed to short- and long-term employee success. It’s about investing time and resources in your employees. The iTacit suite of software modules is about making staff more effective and helping managers have the time and energy they need to do these 8 behaviors. 

Are you helping your managers become great managers?