3 traits of the best Google managers

Google wanted to know what qualities made the most effective manager. So, being Google, they hired a bunch of statisticians to help them find out, Michael Schneider writes for Inc.

The statisticians collected over 10,000 surveys, performance reviews, awards, and other materials from inside Google. Here's what they found Google employees desire most out of a manager:

1. A calm and collected manner

While everyone experiences stress, employees at Google tended to prefer a manager who didn't necessarily show it, writes Schneider. Managers who express their stress can make their employees feel stressed as well, which makes for a less productive environment, writes Schneider.

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2. A problem-solver who shares best practices

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn," said Benjamin Franklin. While Schneider acknowledges that Ben Franklin is not typically referenced as a management guru, he argues this quote encompasses what Google employees say they want in a leader: someone who takes the initiative to not only show their subordinates the answer, but teach them how to arrive at the answer. This can be thought of as an investment in an employee, and shows the manager cares about their employee's future, writes Schneider.

3. A complete person

The employees' favorite managers show an interest in their employees' lives outside of work, writes Schneider. That doesn't mean you have to be their best friends, but it does mean that you should sometimes "shift your focus" to their overall well-being, writes Schneider.

One thing that surprised even Laszlo Bock, a former senior vice president of people operations, was that technical skills were not an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to making a great manager, writes Schneider. While some technical savviness is important, the Google employees tended to focus more on behavioral traits.

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The three traits described are remarkably similar to what several higher education experts identified as the three traits that make a successful college president in a recent interview. The interviewees said presidents should be calm and adaptable, focused on long-term development, and good communicators and relationship-builders (Schneider, Inc.,6/20).


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