A really interesting article about leadership turned up in my Facebook stream. It’s The Boring Trait Google Looks For in Its Leaders.
The prototypical leader is a hero: gives the rousing speech, inspires the troops, and shows up at the last minute to save the day. At least that’s how leaders are portrayed. but that’s not at all what Google discovered as their most important qualities.
At Google, they’re obsessive about looking at data to determine what makes employees successful and what they found in the numbers was surprising. The most important character trait of a leader is one that you’re more likely to associate with a dull person than a dynamic leader: predictability
The article says “Autonomy is the key to employee happiness and outsized performance” which is interesting. Autonomy is one of the factors that Dan Pink mentions as essential in modern motivation (see links below).
I like the summary:
Great leadership is never about being a dramatic hero. It’s just not about you. Instead it’s about providing support to your team by being willing to be seen as boring and predictable.
Provide information they need, work from their perspective, cultivate their performance by offering them the oxygen to succeed. Then they’ll have the breathing room and self-determination to shine.