What makes a good boss great?

That’s what the engineers at Google wanted know. So they scoured more than 10,000 performance reviews, worker surveys, and other data, to create a list of the most common habits of “highly effective managers.” Then, Google did something no other study on bosses had ever done: They ranked those good habits in order of importance.

  • Topping the list: Google found that workers want bosses who have a clear vision for the company, and who can provide specific feedback.

  • At #2 on the list: Workers want bosses who can provide hands-on help, while also being hands-off enough to let people work on their own.

  • And the 3rd most important habit of effective managers: Someone who takes a personal interest in their employees’ success and well-being - even outside of work. 

Laszlo Bock is Google’s vice president of human resources. He says this is the first time anyone has offered management rules that are based on real science, not theories.

In fact, Google found that one of the top reasons people quit their jobs is because they feel like they have a “terrible boss.” 

But after applying this list of rules to Google’s own manager training program, 75-percent of managers saw their manager ratings improve! And within six months, worker complaints dropped, and fewer workers threatened to quit.

So to recap, the habits that make good bosses great are: Have a clear vision, be both hands-on and hands-off at the same time, and take a personal interest in your employees’ lives.