The Traits of Great Managers

by | Sep 5, 2018

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “People don’t quit jobs; they quit managers.” Just about all of us have left a job because of a manager we didn’t like or respect — or who didn’t like or respect us.

But Facebook conducted an engagement survey in 2017, and they found that this old adage isn’t really true — at least not for their company. Instead, they found that when most people left the company, it was because of the work. They left when their job wasn’t enjoyable, their strengths weren’t being used and they weren’t growing in their careers.

But that takes us right back to the managers because they are responsible for defining what everyone’s job looks like. They are the ones who should recognize when team members aren’t happy and when their strengths aren’t being optimized.

Google’s List of Eight Top Management Traits

Ask 10 people what the traits of great managers are, and you will get a lot of different answers. It’s all subjective.

But Google, a company obsessed with data, set out to find out what the traits of top managers are in 2017 in a more analytical way. The company gathered and analyzed 10,000 manager observations, including performance reviews, surveys and nominations for top-manager awards and recognition. They were expecting technical expertise to be ranked toward the top, but it was dead last.

Here are the top “Eight Habits of Effective Google Managers”:

  1. Be a good coach.
  2. Empower your team, and don’t micromanage.
  3. Express interest in employees’ success and well-being.
  4. Be productive and results-oriented.
  5. Be a good communicator, and listen to your team.
  6. Help your employees with career development.
  7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team.
  8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team.

When Google analyzed the results further, they found out that employees most valued managers who are “even-keeled,” who helped them solve problems and who took an interest in employees’ careers and lives.

List Your Own Top Traits, and Hire by Them

What do you think are the traits of the best managers? Looking at the managers you’ve worked with who excelled in leading people and driving revenue, what traits did they have in common? List those traits, and use that list to gauge the potential of management candidates you interview in the future.

Here are some additional traits we have seen among top managers:

  • Approachable
  • Skilled at recognizing people’s strengths
  • Quick to recognize and reward great performance
  • Willing to serve as an accountability partner to help team members set and reach goals
  • Future-focused and willing to adopt new processes in the face of rapid change

Take the Lead in Your Management Role

If those on your management team need coaching to improve their management and leadership skills, sign up for RedRock’s Take the Lead!™ program. This high-impact leadership training and coaching program provides you with access to comprehensive instruction and ongoing support in areas including leadership development, communication, time management, goal planning, management skills, coaching, strategic planning and organizational development.

Jeff Ruby

Jeff Ruby

Founder of RedRock Leadership

During the course of his professional career, he has worked in organizations ranging in size from a sole practitioner to Fortune 500. Included in his experience are roles in starting and selling companies, sales and sales management, training and development and executive coaching.

RedRock Leadership is a sales training and leadership development company committed to growing companies by growing individuals through on-going training infused with the competencies of emotional intelligence.