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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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Does Google look for boring leaders?


Yes, according to a blog post from July arguing that Google data suggests their best-performing leaders are those that are boring.

Except ‘boring’ is just a headline-grabber – what they actually mean is predictable.

Which actually means consistent.

And the story, therefore, isn’t so surprising.

The real question is exactly what they're being consistent about. What about a leader who consistently micro-manages?

In 2004 psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan studied hundreds of investment bank associates on their job satisfaction. The highest ratings came from those whose bosses offered ‘autonomy support.’ Deci and Ryan also found that employees with the highest autonomy also showed the highest job performance.

Autonomy comes in degrees – someone can have more or less autonomy.

So is it only employees with large degrees of autonomy that are happier, or do people simply need to know where they stand to be more satisfied? Is it better to know your boss will consistently micro-manage you, or that he may do depending on what mood he's in?

One Response

  1. Boring leaders

    Hiring employes whose behavior is consistent is a good idea. However, there is more to job success than consistent behavior.

    80% of employees self-report that they are not engaged.

    80% of managers are ill suited to effectively manage people.

    The two 80 percents are closely related.


    Successful employees have all three of the following success predictors while unsuccessful employee lack one or two and usually it is Job Talent that they lack.

    1. Competence

    2. Cultural Fit

    3. Job Talent 


    Employers do a… 

    A. GREAT job of hiring competent employees. 

    B. good job of hiring competent employees who fit the culture. 

    C. POOR job of hiring competent employees who fit the culture and who have a talent for the job. 

    Identifying the talent required for each job seems to be missing from talent and management discussions. If we ignore any of the three criteria, our workforce will be less successful with higher turnover than if we do not ignore any of the three criteria.

    1. Competence

    2. Cultural Fit

    3. Talent

    There are many factors to consider when hiring and managing talent but first we need to define talent unless "hiring talent" means "hiring employees." Everyone wants to hire for and manage talent but if we can't answer the five questions below with specificity, we can't hire or manage talent effectively.

    1. How do we define talent?

    2. How do we measure talent?

    3. How do we know a candidate’s talent?

    4. How do we know what talent is required for each job?

    5. How do we match a candidate’s talent to the talent demanded by the job?

    Most managers cannot answer the five questions with specificity but the answers provide the framework for hiring successful employees and creating an engaged workforce.

    Talent is not found in resumes or interviews or background checks or college transcripts.

    Talent must be hired since it cannot be acquired or imparted after the hire.

Author Profile Picture
Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

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