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    Scott Christopher, PEOPLE PEOPLE

    For a decade, Google’s prevailing managerial philosophy was to just leave people alone; let ‘em do their jobs and if they needed any help they could go to their boss, whose technical expertise was presumably good enough to get them a manager’s job in the first place. But Google’s ‘people analytics’ team did some internal research, which they called Project Oxygen,to determine the most important characteristics for being a truly great manager at Google.

    After analyzing a mountain of performance reviews, feedback surveys and nominations for top manager awards they were a bit surprised by the top factors: be a good coach, express interest in your team’s success and well-being, be a good communicator, and other soft, decidedly non-techy skills.

    Ranking dead last on the list? The manager’s technical expertise.

    At Google?

    What employees valued most were even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings; who helped their people puzzle through problems by asking questions not dictating answers; and who took an interest in employees’ careers and outside lives.

    Google’s VP of people operations Laszlo Bock was surprised.“In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” Bock said. “It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing. It’s important, but pales in comparison. Much more important is just making that connection and being accessible.”

    In short, they wanted managers who are what I call People People.

    You see, for the employees of this “Best Company” (No. 1 in 2013), it’s not just payperks or prestige that primes their pumps, but how well other people treat them, in this case their managers. Do the Three Ps play a part? In a word: Duh. But by themselves they simply aren’t enough.

    A People Person gets this. She understands the need her employees have to be trusted, respected and appreciated, and she takes care to authentically meet those needs.

    So what is a People Person, and are you one?

    People People can be classified in three general ways:

    Type I (T1): Outgoing, social, touchy-feely, strong communicator, comfortable in public, passionate… what most people traditionally consider a People Person—good with people

    Type II (T2): No apparent social skills, quiet, shy, prefers solitude, deer in the headlights public speaker, BUT genuinely cares about other people, compassionate—good to people

    Type III (T3): Both T1 and T2 characteristics. The extrovert who truly puts people first; the introvert who’s learned how to open up and become more social. A T3 is the ideal People Person, the kind of supervisor or manager who doesn’t shy away from making appropriately professional and personal connections with employees. They can show compassion by putting people first without sacrificing passion for demanding excellence.

    Becoming a T3 should be the goal.

    3 Ways to Become a T3 Today:

    1.       Speak UP. Resist the urge to stay within yourself. Speaking publicly or personally, open your mouth more, stop mumbling, enunciate your words, adjust the volume to hearable levels and truly care that your message is being properly perceived.

    2.       Give it UP.  You know you’ll never hear enough from us ‘Carrot’ guys about giving credit where it’s due, thanking and praising efforts and recognizing accomplishments. An attitude of gratitude is a hallmark of a true T3 people person.

    3.       Lighten UP.  Stop taking yourself, your title, your position and your wonderfulness so seriously. Smile and laugh MORE. Look for opportunities to loosen your tie a little and enjoy the spontaneous humor that thrives in truly productive work cultures. Forgive and forget quickly. Add a humorous slide or family photo to your presentations. Let your people express their fun side around you—even encourage it.

    You literally can begin applying these three suggestions today, right now. You’ll certainly improve with time and continued effort, but start immediately, at work and at home. Hey, If high-tech Google nerds crave a softer side from their leaders, imagine what your employees (or family) might want from you.
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