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Google wants leaders with the ‘boring’ trait?!

I am sure many of us admire and consider we could learn a lot from the impressive brand and organisation that is Google.  So what are your thoughts on the concept that Google is promoting the most important character trait in a leader as “one that you’re more likely to associate with a ‘dull person’ than a dynamic leader…. predictability”?!

Google are masters at analysing data and number crunching so it is no surprise that they used an evidence-based approach to determine what it takes to be an impressive leader.  Twice a year, they ask anyone who reports to a manager to complete an ‘upwards feedback survey’ detailing their manager’s performance across 12 to 18 factors.  The results displayed that in order to be a successful leader, qualities of predictability and consistency should be demonstrated!

Why is this overlooked leadership quality of predictability so important?…  When a leader is predictable then the employee will know exactly where they stand; hence they will have much more free rein and confidence to do what they believe is best!  An unpredictable manager will have an inclination to meddle, criticise and change plans an employee has already put in place.  However, if this tendency is removed, then employees do not have the worry that their manager will jump in halfway through, or even at the end of a project, and modify or transform their work!  Instead, as Google comment, employees will have the space necessary to do an amazing job.”

We all know how important it is to let your team members develop and grow and feel confident to try new things.  Being a consistent leader will ensure your team has the confidence and freedom to express independence and creativity for their personal development and productivity.  This is supported by research conducted in 2004 by two psychologists, Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, on the job satisfaction levels of hundreds of associates at an investment bank.  Those with the highest job satisfaction levels, as well as the highest job performance, were those whose intrinsic needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness were fulfilled, which was especially influenced by managers who were autonomy-supportive.

So remove the dramatics and all the focus being on you and being a ‘heroic leader’, and instead support your team’s development by being a bit more boring and predictable!  Allow your employees to grow and let their creativity expand by taking a back-seat.  Still provide them with the information or advice they require or ask for, but view work from their perspective and grant them the ‘breathing room and self-determination to shine!’

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