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Google’s Secret Research Reveals 10 Traits Of A Great Manager

Today’s competitive world requires companies to do their best to attract and retain the best employees while maximizing the productivity from those teams. To this end, Google conducted research over a period spanning a decade in order to identify the key attributes that a “perfect” manager must have in order to be successful. Here is the list of the top ten qualities the research uncovered in their order of importance.

Attribute #1: Being a Coach

Google discovered that the best managers use every moment that arises as a teaching moment. They coach their teams by sharing their insights, experiences and thought processes so that every member of the team grows and develops the capacity to solve any problem that may arise during the execution of the day-to-day company work. It would, therefore, be worthwhile for you and your management team to undergo coach training so that the team each person leads benefits from those newly acquired skills. If you want motivation to walk this path, compare your company to Google and learn from them!


Attribute #2: Empowers Rather Than Micromanages

Does your company or department grind to a halt once you are way? If yes, then chances are high that you are a micromanager. According to Google research, this is exactly what you should be avoiding as a manager.

The research conducted by Google established that to be an excellent manager, you need to do more to empower those you lead by allowing them to exercise their professional freedom in doing what you hired them to do. An empowered employee looks for innovative ways to do their work and they also take calculated risks aimed at delivering the desired outcomes. In this way, you will tap the very best that each employee brings to the table.

Attribute #3: Nurtures Psychological Safety in the Team

When you are a team leader, you want great overall team performance rather than scattered individual brilliance. Collective team success will only come if you are a manager with the ability to create an environment in which team members trust you and one another. Such an environment makes employees safe in the knowledge that they can push themselves to the boundaries of their abilities because they can count on the support of their team, and there will be no backlash for any mistake made.

Attribute #4: Productivity and Results-Driven

The best managers lead by example and put in their share of work to produce the desired outcomes. As their teams see the leader giving their all, they too are motivated to go above and beyond in order to attain the set objective. With time, high productivity becomes the norm in a team whose manager walks the talk.

Attribute #5: Good Communication

Managing or leadership is about influence, and you cannot influence teams if you aren’t a good communicator. Communication is a two-way process, and great managers put in the effort needed to listen and act upon the feedback from their teams in addition to providing timely information about the current position and future direction of the department or team. If you can’t communicate it, it doesn’t exist!

Attribute #6: Has an Eye on Performance and Career Development

The best managers know that the work environment is constantly evolving and they put in the effort needed to keep their teams growing at the same pace. Google research shows that these outstanding managers praise the performance of their teams and also constructively point out where they have fallen short so that corrective action can be taken.

This investment in their teams encourages career growth and puts the team or company on a trajectory of continuous improvement.

Attribute #7: Strategic Thinker

You cannot be a great manager if you cannot see ahead of your team. As a manager, you are the vision bearer and it is your duty to marshal your team so that they all work together to realize that vision.

Great managers have a clear idea of where they are taking their teams, where they currently are relative to that vision, and what exactly needs to be done to bridge the gap between where the team stands and where it needs to be.

Attribute #8: Technical Competence

A good leader understands the tasks that each team member is responsible for executing. This technical expertise enables the leader to provide helpful and relevant advice or guidance when problems arise. Technical competence also helps to build trust because “you all speak the same language.” Your team will trust you to lead them because they believe in your ability to take them where they need to go. An incompetent leader quickly loses the trust and respect of his or her team.

Attribute #9: Collaboration

Great managers also know that they don’t work in isolation. What they do affects and is affected by what other teams do. For example, the R&D team must work with the finance department and marketing teams for the overall success of the company. The best managers, therefore, put in an effort to collaborate with other units or teams so that the company operates like a well-oiled machine.

Attribute #10: Decisiveness

Google also discovered that the best managers are good at making timely decisions and working unwaveringly to implement those decisions. To make good decisions, the best managers receive input from different sources, such as their team members, and then digest that information through their experienced lenses before making a decision that is the best for the company or team.

At times, the best decision may not necessarily be the most popular, but a true leader shows their mettle by doing what is best for the company. Do you, or the team leaders under you display the ten qualities above on a consistent basis? Which ones do you lack? Which ones are you good at?

The beauty about leadership is that it can be learned, so get to work and acquire the attributes which will make you a better manager. We are here to support you!

Ready to level up your coaching and leadership game? Want to make a big impact in the lives of others? Add more power to your purpose with our 12-week online Performance Coach certification course. Apply here: Course overview & Application!

To Your Success

Jairek Robbins & Team PCU