Google spent a decade studying effective bosses – now they teach new managers these 6 things

Jessica Tabinor leadership



  • Google has spent years studying the key to effective managers, read on to find out what they learnt. 

  • Whether you’ve just been promoted to your first managerial role or if you’re simply looking for ways to become a better manager, this article is for you.

Learning to be a good manager requires a combination of self-awareness, first-class training and excellent communication skills – the list is really endless. Often, it’s not something that you can learn overnight and is certainly something that many people struggle with without the right guidance. Thankfully, we have companies like Google that have spent decades researching the transition which can help us demystify the secrets to new managers' success.

Whether you’ve just been promoted to your first managerial role or if you’re simply looking for ways to become a better manager, this article is for you. We take a look at the 6 key things that Google now teach its managers…

1. Mindset and values

Google encourages its managers to identify their own values and leverage them within their management styles. The aim? They hope that it will empower their managers to use their individual morals to add deeper meaning and impact to the work they complete on a daily basis.

Inevitably, managers will have to make some tough decisions throughout their career so when faced with uncertainty, having a strong set of values can help you along the way.

2. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the key to becoming a good manager. Having the ability to identify and understand different individuals’ emotions will enable you to build better team relationships and make better decisions. Essentially, we’re talking about a heightened sense of self-awareness.search morson jobs

3. Manager transition

It can be daunting when you take your first step into management. You move from being one of the team to the leader and suddenly it can feel like a whole lot of new responsibility. Google has identified this and they ensure that the transition process runs as smooth as it can do.

On the job training and professional development, whether that be internally or externally, goes a long way to ensuring a new manager can feel comfortable to hit the ground running when they step into their new role.

4. Coaching

Being able to coach your employees whether they are new to the business or need a little extra support is a great skill to have as a manager. It can assist the onboarding process, aid retention and performance improvement and encourage knowledge transfer. Google has defined a good coach as having the below qualities:

  • Timely and specific feedback.
  • Delivering hard feedback in a motivational and thoughtful way.
  • Tailoring approaches to meet individual communication styles in regular one-on-one meetings.
  • Practising empathetic "active" listening and being fully present.
  • Having awareness of your own mindset and that of the employee.
  • Asking open-ended questions to discover an employee's acumen.

TOP LEADERSHIP BLOG | Leaders create future leaders - 5 ways to help employees reach their full potential

5. Feedback

A manager must be able to deliver feedback in a constructive way. Being able to get the right balance between positive/motivational feedback and more developmental feedback in reviews is something that takes practice. It's important to consider the sensitivity of an employee (which goes back to our point around emotional intelligence) but also to be able to help your employees progress by continually improving at work.

6. Decision-making

As we touched on in the first point, managers will inevitably be faced with a number of decisions throughout their career and because of that, their decision-making skills should be second to none. Google has established a routine to help managers make better decisions. This framework includes asking and articulating:

  • What are you solving for, and is everyone on the same page? (Identify and communicate the root cause).
  • Why is it important? (Does it support other business goals?)
  • Who is the decision-maker?
  • How will the decision be made?
  • When can people expect a decision? (Keep stakeholders in the loop and manage expectations).

Follow the 6 key steps as advised by Google and you’re bound to set your managers up for success in their new role.

If you're an organisation looking to attract the best talent or a candidate wanting to progress your career, then get in touch with Morson or browse our latest jobs here.