Leadership Style of Eric Schmidt, Google's Former CEO

Eric Schmidt was formerly the CEO of Google and is currently the executive chairman of Alphabet Inc (the public holding company of Google.) As one of the main factors behind the steady growth of Google, Eric Schmidt is regarded for his qualities as a leader and his methods to make the workplace as an environment for new ideas and innovation.

Eric Schmidt worked as a chief technology officer at Sun during its heyday. He then worked as CEO at Novell, but his performance was unfortunate during his stint there. He made his way to Google thru John Doerr, who was a venture capitalist and Google board member. Doerr considered Schmidt’s patient engineering management style to be what they were looking for at Google. Although he had skeptics for his working style, Schmidt helped Google reached $1 billion on revenue in six years.

Google is considered to be a network-based organization. It is very flat and non-hierarchical, informal in culture and ideas. As the CEO of Google, he believes emphasizes the need to have a working environment where people can constantly suggest their best ideas rather than being hesitant to talk to their superiors. Google works based on independent think, particularly in terms of empowering their employees and motivating them to produce new innovative ideas and implement them. Schmidt’s style of leadership had many things alike with the culture of Google, although he was from a corporate background. Schmidt’s leadership style involved getting to know his employees better and coming up with new ways to reward and promote his top employees who deliver excellent output. He stands by his belief that one should let their employees own the task which you want them to complete and allow them to work outside the corporate hierarchy.

Schmidt doesn’t prefer any managerial structure where the decision power is only made by the highest authorities or the flow of information should go from top to bottom, wherein the employees need to follow. His style is unlike the traditional, hierarchical style of leadership. It includes the CEO statement and the strategy that should be followed and describe the work and task that has to be completed by the employees. People can work on what they want every day. They have fewer problems; therefore they can easily be managed. They are motivated and always excited to work on any projects they care about.

Things included in Eric Schmidt’s style of leadership:

  1. Schmidt creates a list of the top employees for the different levels. This could also come from a reference from co-workers and he makes sure he interacts with them and encourage them personally to create their innovative ideas and give them space from distractions of others.
  2. He rewards top performers based on the system already established. Schmidt made a video called “the Factory Tour,” where the protagonists would describe the idea and explain how it works. This video is five-hour long.
  3. To give the employees the authority to be the owners of their work, he provided a very broad description of the company goal and left the implementation for the employees. To define the goal, care was taken to focus on the benefits to the consumers and society rather than to the company.

Schmidt may not have followed the traditional hierarchical style of leadership, but still, he succeeded in helping with the growth of Google. He allowed the employees to own their work and gave them freedom to work on projects the employees want. His leadership style made it easier for employees to communicate their innovative ideas without having to worry about their superiors. Schmidt’s leadership allowed the employees to create and implement their ideas. With the informal culture in Google and Schmidt’s leadership style, he helped the company grow and earn revenues.

 

References:

Leadership style of Eric Schmidt- An overview. (2015, May 11). Retrieved March 14, 2017, from http://corporatemonks.com/leadership-style-of-eric-schmidt-an-overview/

Snyder, Benjamin. “Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Leadership and Success.” N.p., 19 Oct. 2015. Web. 14 Mar. 2017, from http://fortune.com/2015/10/19/eric-schmidt-google-leadership