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Google now claims it can identify great leadership within the business in just a few minutes. But what are the key qualities all top managers display? Spoon investigates.

In the era of the ultra-short attention span, it comes as no surprise that Google has designed a test that can establish whether you’re a great leader in under five minutes. The tech giant claims that by asking 13 questions and getting employees to score their managers on a scale between 1-5, it’s able to spot the great leaders among the team.

Whether or not you agree leaders can be identified like this, there no doubt that unearthing those who will go on to be top managers is tough for any business. “To add value to others, one must first value others,” American leadership guru John Maxwell points out. For those of us who have experienced poor management or leadership (all of us?), this certainly rings true.

Being a great leader or manager surely involves recognising the attributes of your team members and embracing their individual qualities. But if it’s really that simple, why is it that so many leaders get it wrong?

Let’s take a closer look at the top five qualities we at Spoon feel make a great leader…


This may be an obvious one for many experienced managers and leaders, but listening to your team members is key to understanding their basic needs. Are employees trying to tell you something is wrong? Do they feel ‘heard’ by you via the response you give? A great leader knows how to step back, listen well, and react appropriately.

2. Willingness to learn

Leaders have got to their position because they have lots of expertise, but great leaders are willing to learn from their team, too. The wealth of knowledge the team has may help you approach a project from a different perspective, creating an even more impressive outcome.

Encouraging a team to express its creativity and inviting team members to bring their own experience to the table will help them grow. The result? You’re leading a happy team.

3. Trusting the team

‘Micro-management’ – management that oversees every action, task or decision – often means the boss has a lack of trust in their team. As home working grows, now more than ever in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, leaders are having to embrace a new level of trust.

There’s no denying trusting others is tricky. Trust needs to be earned, but once it is established, everyone benefits. You employed your team members for a reason – give them time to prove themselves and then let them fly.

4. Seeking guidance from others

Here at Spoon, we’re active champions of mentoring and would always encourage business leaders or senior figures to seek a mentor. Mentoring encourages people to develop skills, further their own knowledge and pushes them out of their comfort zone. For leaders, it’s the best way to prevent becoming stale.

5. Communicating clearly

Good communication is at the heart of a high-performing and happy team, but is often overlooked by leaders. Clear communication ensures every team member knows exactly what is required of them, and keeps them informed about company news.

Letting your team members know how they’re performing and actively encouraging their growth is also a big part of effective communication. Recognising each employee for their qualities, while communicating what needs to improve, will also help identify if you’ve got what it takes to be a great leader.

You made it here!

Spoon knows a thing or two about tip-top leadership communications.
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