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What makes a good boss?

By January 27, 2020July 29th, 2021HR Research, HR Strategy, Top Tip
Good Manager | Management Skills | HR Solutions

Bad bosses can cost businesses billions of pounds and too many of them can be detrimental to a business.  A poor manager is often the reason even the best employees either love or leave their jobs; but when a company gets it right and hires skilled managers, the business will thrive in its industry and gain a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.

A good boss has the ability to influence and inspire others and get the best out of their team. As an effective manager, they lead their workforce by example, have a strong vision and stay committed to goals.

Behaviours of Google’s top managers

Google has spent over a decade studying the habits of their top-rated managers and what makes a good leader. In 2008 the company launched Project Oxygen which sought to identify the behaviours that were common among the highest performing managers. The tech giant’s first list was published in 2011 and the company has been refining it ever since.

The list of positive behaviours of their top-rated managers includes:

  • A good coach
  • Empowers the team and doesn’t micromanage
  • Creates an inclusive team environment
  • Productive and results-orientated
  • A good communicator
  • Supports career development
  • Has a clear vision and strategy
  • Has technical skills to advise and support the team
  • Encourages collaborations across the company
  • A strong decision-maker.

Google has been using the findings from its research to train all its managers to develop these positive behaviours. Over time, the company has seen a significant improvement in employee satisfaction, performance and turnover.

Good bosses impact staff turnover

Many people find their bosses so difficult to work with that they choose to leave employment just to get away from them. Research by Gallup reveals that half of all employees have left a job because of a bad boss. Just one bad boss can have a toxic effect on a large number of employees. However, a good boss can make all the difference to an employee feeling engaged, productive and loyal to the business.

Over the last 20 years, Gallup has studied employee performance across hundreds of organisations and measured the engagement of 27 million employees. Regardless of the industry, size, or location, its research showed that when employees feel that their boss cares about them, discusses their career progress with them and encourages their development, the business has a lower staff turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity and even better customer loyalty.

Leadership and professional development

Becoming an effective people manager requires a great deal of self-awareness, observation, people skills and growth. Whether you are new to management or have a lot of experience behind you, those crucial skills that helped you move up the career ladder may not necessarily be the skills you now need to be a successful leader. At the core of effective leadership is professional development and putting down the building blocks of knowledge that will become a key part of both a manager’s and their employee’s skillset.

Skilled managers are crucial to the long-term success of a business, having a vital role in talent management. Today, the relationship between employee and boss has become the building block of learning and development in business. Good managers attract the best candidates, drive performance, engagement and retention. They also have a key role in maximising their employees’ skills and contribution to the business.

Manager’s role in employee development

Continuous learning and development are key to developing a sustainable career. Job seekers from entry to top-level management are more concerned with the opportunities available for learning and development than any other aspect of a potential job. Research by online job site totaljobs revealed that as many as two in three workers quit their jobs as a result of poor learning and development opportunities. An employee’s direct manager is often their most crucial developer and job candidates are looking for people they can respect and learn from. To a candidate, their prospective boss is the single most important individual in the business.

Encouraging career development for employees by integrating individual learning and development into every job description is also a clear sign of effective leadership. Companies that do this are able to thrive as a result of new leaders rising from the inside. An effective boss will make sure that there are appropriate resources allocated towards personal growth so that everyone can share reasonable expectations of commitment and success.

HR Support and Training

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For advice or support on developing your people management skills, call HR Solutions on 0844 324 5840 or visit to contact us online.

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