There’s no way around it: If you want to be a successful manager who has what it takes to create great results every time, you must embody and implement key leadership qualities.
This was proven in an in-depth study by Google, called Project Oxygen, which started in 2008 and has continued since. The study involved careful analysis of massive amounts of data gathered from more than 10,000 observations from the company’s managers, including relevant information from performance reviews and survey results. As it turned out, the most successful managers shared 10 key behaviors that allowed them to operate and sustain high levels of productivity, creativity and efficiency.
And these results are still relevant today. I’ve witnessed them again and again throughout my experience as a business coach and entrepreneur. But, once you break these down to their core, you’ll realize there are three most critical leadership traits you must consciously cultivate if you truly want to become a world-class manager.
- High emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence can be described as the ability to master your emotions. Being able to accurately identify and manage other people’s emotions to achieve specific objectives and goals is also indicative of a high level of emotional intelligence.
Increased emotional intelligence is absolutely crucial for successful management.
When you cultivate emotional intelligence, you’ll achieve deep self-awareness in your personal responses and reactions to various situations and challenges in the workplace. You’ll also have a clear understanding of how other people operate, including what motivates them to give their best.
- Great coaching ability
Coaching ability is a priceless skill all successful managers rely on to achieve their goals, and it’s a skill every new manager must cultivate.
Why? Great coaching is about bringing out the best in others. This also happens to be the heart of great management. Learning how to be an effective coach will help you successfully navigate the unpredictable, organic territory of managing people. You’ll be able to coach and guide them to rise up to their potential and do great work.
While there are many coaching skills you can learn and apply in your role as a manager, such as knowing how to deliver constructive feedback, identifying core talents and motivating individual team members or employees, there’s one coaching skill that stands out above all the others. One of the most important skills any coach must have is active listening. It’s one of the most effective ways to create authentic relationships based on mutual trust, which is the basis for successful coaching and successful management.
- Powerful decision making
Fast, accurate decision making is the mark of a successful manager. When you know how to make good decisions — especially when you’re in a time crunch and under pressure — you’re likely to achieve your objectives and goals, no matter how big or complex they are.
The secret to powerful decision making consists of three important factors: being able to view the situation clearly and without personal judgment, gathering and assessing relevant information, and trusting your intuition or “gut feeling.”
Getting a clear, accurate view of a situation before you make a decision involves setting aside your emotions. When a difficult or complex decision needs to be made, new managers get caught up in the emotional roller coaster of who said what, what should have been done, who dropped the ball and on and on.
None of that matters.
No matter what else is going on, stay clear and impartial by focusing on the goal that you want to achieve so you can make logical, sensible decisions that are not influenced by personal judgments and emotions.
You’ll also improve your decision-making skills when you take a bit of time to gather data and feedback from relevant people. Don’t be afraid to ask for opinions or input from key employees or team members, but avoid using this process to delay your final decision.