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Great Leaders Possess Great Soft Skills

Being a leader requires special skills and they are not hard skills – they go much deeper than that. What makes a leader great is more about their people skills and personality. Google set out to discover the key behaviours and strengths of their top managers by questioning the team members of these managers. This is a great test to do on your end as well!

On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being ‘strongly agree’ and 5 being ‘strongly disagree’, employees had to rate their supervisor based on the following questions:

  1. My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance.
  2. My manager does not “micromanage” (get involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  3. My manager shows consideration for me as a person.
  4. The actions of my manager show that he/she values the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from his/her own.
  5. My manager keeps the team focused on our priority results/deliverables.
  6. My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leaders.
  7. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about career development in the past six months.
  8. My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  9. My manager has the technical expertise (e.g., coding in Tech, selling in Global Business, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me.
  10. I would recommend my manager to other Googlers.
  11. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.

Do you notice anything interesting with this mix of questions? They are heavily focused on soft skills, which can be defined as character traits and interpersonal skills. These skills include communication, mentoring, teamwork, respect, and consideration. Google’s survey questions how managers do their jobs, not what they know.

Great leaders are effective at engaging their employees. They trust them by giving them autonomy and empower them to be independent while enforcing processes and pushing productivity. Plain and simple, great leaders focus on helping their team succeed.