Top 10 Little Known Qualities that Makes a Great Boss/Manager[Google Research]

“People leave managers, not companies.”

We’ve all heard it. Many of us have experienced it. But what makes people want to leave a manager in the first place? And if you happen to lead a team, what qualities can make you better?

Those are the types of questions Google set out to answer. In 2008, they began research into what makes a good manager, code-named Project Oxygen. 

They originally identified eight behaviors that were common among their highest performing managers and began training all managers to develop those behaviors.

Over time, Google saw a marked improvement in key metrics such as employee turnover, satisfaction, and performance.

But as the company grew, the demands of managers also increased. Google continued its research. They refined it. They learned more.

“We found that, over time, the qualities of a great manager at Google had grown and evolved with along with the company,” wrote Melissa Harrell and Lauren Barbato earlier this year. Harrell works as a staffing services manager and Barbato as a people analyst. 

After taking a second look at its research, Google then “refreshed [its] behaviors according to internal research and Google and [employee] feedback, and put them to the test.”

This resulted in a new list, identifying two completely new behaviors (Nos. 9 and 10) and updating two others (Nos. 3 and 6).

Here are the 10 behaviors of Google’s best managers, along with some practical tips on how to develop these behaviors. (You can find more detailed advice on developing your management skills in my new book, EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence.)

coachA good coach avoids the trap of solving every problem for their team as soon as it arises. 

Rather they use these problems as teaching moments. They guide and share insights at the right time, letting their team gain valuable experience along the way.

2. Empowers team and does not micromanage

Everybody hates a micromanager. In contrast, a good team lead gives their people enough freedom–to explore new ideas, to experiment, and to develop (and adapt) their own working style.

In addition, great managers make sure their people have the tools and flexibility they need to do their jobs.

3. Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being

Great managers make it a priority to build trust in their teams.

In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe to take risks around their team members. They feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.

4. Is productive and results-oriented

The best managers make those around them better.

They realize what their teams are capable of, and they use emotional intelligence to motivate their people and help them realize their potential.

5. Is a good communicator–listens and shares information

Great ComminicatorGreat managers are great listeners–this enables understanding. They also share what they can, realizing transparency is beneficial for the team as a whole.

They share sincere and specific praise, early and often. But they also don’t hold back from giving necessary (negative) feedback–making sure to frame it in a way that is constructive and easy to learn from.

6. Supports career development and discusses performance

Great managers are invested in their people. They provide career path options, realizing not everyone wants to follow the same road. 

They also don’t hold their people back for personal gain. Rather, they support team members and help them to reach their goals.

7. Has a clear vision/strategy for the team

Great VisionGreat managers know where they’re going, but they make sure the whole team knows, too–rather than keeping them in the dark.

They are also careful to communicate “scope,” realistic expectations as to what specific actions are needed to execute a strategy, and each team member’s role in delivering.

8. Has key technical skills to help advise the team

Great bosses understand a job well and are skilled at the work they oversee. 

If an effective manager is brought into a new department, they take time, in the beginning, to familiarize themselves with their people’s everyday work and challenges. This earns them the respect of their team.

9. Collaborates across [the company]

Some managers create silos, running their teams with an “us versus them” mentality, competing against other teams within the company.

Great managers have the ability to see the big picture and work for the good of a company as a whole.

10. Is a strong decision maker

Desicion MakerGreat managers take the lead. They make tough decisions, and make sure everyone understands the reasons behind those decisions.

Then, they commit to following through.

Of course, the first step–identifying effective manager behaviors (and tips for developing them)–is easy. Execution is the hard part.

But it’s managers like these that will help your people–and your company–accomplish great things.


Do let me know what you think in the comments section and make sure you share this article right now.

To a better Manager

Tony Omary Signature

Email MarketingIn Case You Missed Them:

  • Kenechi says:

    Yea I enjoyed what I just read. I have worked in some places and I have barely found a good boss. Most bosses don’t like the progress of their staff and anytime they suspects that something is beginning to favour you somewhere, they will become jealous and uncomfortable with you. They may certainly find a reason to fire you. Thanks for the detailed qualities you listed. 

    • Tony Omary says:

      Hi Kenechi,

      In fact, most bosses want to take credit for the work and ideas given by the employees which is unfair.

      And as you said, if they think you are smarter than them, they find a reason to fire you.

      That is very wrong.

      If you want to be successful, employ the smartest.

      As Bill Gates Once Said ” I will choose a lazy person to do something because they are smart enough to find a short cut”

  • Ayodeji says:

    Great article your got here. Being a boss can be difficult as well as as easy sometimes, it depends on the personality of the boss towards those he or she is leading. Leading others too comes with a particular understanding once you realise you are leading those who are ready to walk with you, this on my own part makes it easy when you choose to walk with your boss, the title remains a title and not a responsibility because with that you get to work and grow together which is the paramount reason for leading in the first place. 

  • ajibola40 says:

    To be a good boss or manager is not an easy job. You must have go through many challenges and over come them

    all of qualities of a boss you write in the article is essential for a manager or boss to process. 

    boss is not about the just the name. Is all about responsibilities day in day out

    • Tony Omary says:

      Exactly. A boss has to be responsible and answerable in case anything goes wrong.

      Things get even tough while making decisions for the company.

  • Kehinde Segun says:

    This is actually true because I have met one fantastic Google manager which he has helped me in so much way. He has actually made my decision to be a digital marketing easier. Like that number on the tips, He has never failed to find solution to every problem I have got. he has given ways to make more money without micro managing it. Above all, He is a good listener and a good communicator

    • Tony Omary says:

      What an honor to work directly with a Google Manager.

      That makes it next to impossible to bit Google no matter the budget since they have already dominated.

  • alexandra says:

    I really enjoyed this article on qualities that make a good boss. I think a boss that empowers the team is very important. They keep you motivated and keep you doing your best. Number five on your list is also one that I feel is very important, feedback is so important even if it is constructive criticism, how else can we improve and get better. A great leader does take the lead like you say and he leads by example. I still have not have the opportunity have a boss like this but I am hopeful that I will have or that I will be.

    • Tony Omary says:

      Hopefully, you’ll find a better boss while still building your online empire.

      I think you’ll make a better boss since you already know the qualities that not everyone has access to.

  • jaykaynigltd says:

    Thank you for this great article. I wish my former boss read this your wonderful article!If you have never work with or for a bad boss you may never learn to be a good one yourself. But if you had, you should appreciate a good one. In my case I always feel like leaving the job but I love the job and this “boss” frustrate my life because he doesn’t know the work and he can come to term with that fact and so he felt threatened! With my experience and this article; “TOP 10 LITTLE KNOWN QUALITIES THAT MAKES A GREAT”   I am sure I will be a good boss when I become one. Will it be sensible to leave if you have a bad boss?

    what will be your advice for someone that has a bad boss?

    Thanks for the information

    • Tony Omary says:

      People don’t leave companies.

      If you have a bad boss, Find another company that has a better manager.

      Why are they there in the first place if they don’t have the qualities?

  • smshakil says:

    Hi Tony

    I have read your whole article about “TOP 10 Little Known Qualities That Makes A Great Boss/Manager”.This is really a nice article.It’s a very much helpful article for the people.By reading your article I understand that who wants to a good boss they must have some special qualities and experiences They must have the abilities to manage the group very well .I will share this great article with my friends and relatives.Thanks a lot for sharing this idea with us.

    • Tony Omary says:

      I think communication skill is the most important quality of a boss. Be it through writing or speaking. That makes a HUGE difference.

      Thanks for sharing.

  • Daniella says:

    Hi Tony,

    Awesome article, I really enjoyed the reading!

    Becoming a good boss requires times and experience. I don’t think that people are born to be boss:) My brother didn’t have any experience when he started his business and it took him a few years to become a great boss. Unfortunately, some people become bad boss, and they never learn how to change their behavior at work.  Anyway, there are always places for improvement:) Even if the boss is great, he/ she can become better. Don’t you think so?

    Thank you for this excellent post!

    • Tony Omary says:

      Hi Daniela,

      Management is a skill that can be learned and mastered. So, any boss/manager can improve their skills.

  • >
    Scroll to Top