Human Resources News & Insights

7 traits Facebook found when it looked at its best managers

When it comes time to hire or promote someone into management, Facebook has come up with a checklist of what you should be looking for in a leader. 

The social media giant was on a quest recently to determine what makes a manager successful within its walls.

The approach it took to finding out what it’s best managers were made of was rather simple — and it can provide a road map of how to do the same in your organization. Or, simpler still, you could just steal Facebook’s results and look for these traits in your next managerial candidates (they seem rather universal).

The process:

  • Step 1 — Conduct an analysis of the entire workforce (that’s roughly 12,000 for Facebook). What was it looking for? The teams that were the most engaged and happiest in their roles.
  • Step 2 — Approach the highest-ranking teams and ask them what made their bosses so great to work for. What was it looking for? Common behaviors among those bosses.

The results

What Facebook found were seven common traits their best team leaders had in common. It then shared those results with Business Insider, which reported them here.

Here’s a brief rundown of what those traits were:

  1. A will to lead. The best bosses at Facebook wanted to help their subordinates grow and excel. In other words, they didn’t want to be a manager just to pad their resumes or advance in the organization.
  2. A desire to facilitate learning. They provided and created opportunities for learning, development and growth.
  3. Strong goal-setting abilities. They set clear expectations and goals for both individual and team performance. In other words, employees knew what was expected of them on a personal, as well as, team level.
  4. Strong communication skills. Specifically, employees said the best managers gave feedback that was clear, actionable and frequent. In addition, they’re good at passing information both up and down the chain of command, and they aren’t afraid to let their employees speak up. Warning: Recent research revealed that as many as 85% of managers may be failing their teams in this area.
  5. An ability to eliminate roadblocks. Rather than micromanaging, Facebook’s best bosses let employees do their thing — and remove barriers that hinder employees’ progress.
  6. The capacity to observe and act. Not only do they hold staff members accountable for their actions and performance, the best managers are smart enough to look at what an employee has done in the past and use that knowledge to project what that person can do in the future. In other words, they base future responsibilities on past results.
  7. A willingness and ability to give credit where credit is due. They recognize outstanding work and employee achievements.

Audit your current managers

For those of you not in the market for a new manager, it can pay dividends to have your current managers audit their skill sets against the list above.

After all, according to Gallup, as many as 82% of managers aren’t up to the job. It too, has compiled list of things it believes good managers excel at, such as:

  1. Motivation
  2. Assertiveness
  3. Accountability
  4. Relationship-building, and
  5. Decision-making.

Another idea: Have your managers take this quiz, which was commissioned by, a U.K.-based utility consulting firm. It’s designed to help managers determine where their strengths lie and remember what to do when the going gets tough.

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