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Google’s 10 traits of a good boss

Google’s 10 traits of a good boss


We all have our own idea of what makes a good – and bad – boss.

It’s hardly surprising that the attribute of micromanaging is most definitely not on the list. It’s probably too simplistic to say that the best boss is the one predominantly leaves you alone to get on with, although there is an element of truth to that.

For more than 10 years, researchers at the world’s biggest search engine have been looking closely at the behaviours of their top-rated leaders, as well as feedback from employee satisfaction surveys, to put together a list of what defines a good boss. Google has put this knowledge to use in the workplace, and has apparently noticed improvement in both employee retention and productivity.

Here then, are Google’s attributes of what comprises a good boss:

1 A good coach

Good bosses help employees through problems and use them as learning points.

2 Empowers the team instead of micromanaging

If your boss frequently tells you how to do small tasks that you are completely qualified to do on your own – like how to write an email – then you may have a micromanager on your hands. A good manager should empower you to use the skills that got you the job instead of trying to do everything for you.

3 Creates an inclusive team environment, and shows concern for success and wellbeing

If your boss leaves you feeling terrified of going to the toilet or asking questions, they probably haven’t done a great job at creating an inclusive team environment.

Google has refined its findings on this trait over time, showing that good managers ensure people feel comfortable to introduce new ideas, and don’t feel scared to ask questions or admit mistakes.

4 Productive and focused on results

Good bosses help out where necessary and make sure that you know what you are working towards.

5 A good communicator

This one is pretty self-explanatory. A good manager should be good at sharing information, and good at listening, too.

6 Supports career development and discusses performance

This means doing more than just giving criticisms or showing interest in an employee’s prospects – Google’s research has shown it has to be coupled with feedback that helps an employee work towards their goals.

7 Has a clear strategy for the team

A good boss let’s you know what is expected of you, and what you need to do to get there.

8 Has the technical skills needed to advise the team

Ideally, your boss should know how to do the job that they are asking you to do. If they are new, they will take time understanding the team before they make big changes.

9 Collaborates across the organisation

Good managers don’t just have a good relationship with the people they manage, but other people in the organisation, too.

10 Is a strong decision-maker

Google has a lot of information on its website about how bosses should make informed decisions. In reality, most people just want their boss to make decisions quickly enough that they can go home on time and their work isn’t wasted.

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