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Eric Schmidt Leadership Qualities Analysis

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Published: Tue, 26 Sep 2017

1. Introduction:

In this assignment, I am going to analyze the leadership style of Eric Emerson Schmidt which one was the CEO of the famous internet company Google comprehensively. Over the period of 2001 to 2011, Eric Schmidt leaded the Google company to become one of the most variable companies and the most popular companies in the world. The initial Google is just a searching engine website company, Eric Schmidt likes a magician made a miracle in this company that build up as a industry pioneer.

  1. The business philosophy of Eric Schmidt:

As Harold Koontz said: “Management is an art of getting things done through and with people in formally organized groups. It is an art of creating an environment in which people can perform and individuals and can cp-operate towards attainment of group goals. ”

The full title of CEO is chief executive officer, a important responsibility of CEO is to management the whole company in a positive direction. Every large companies have a evident style as same as their CEO, the CEO runs the company in their own personal style. Eric Schmidt used socio-human approach in his organizational process. And this style was not only used in Google company, but also he used in his first company-SUN which is a same internet technological company as Google and it is famous of JAVA. Because Eric thinks both are same type company, he can use similar style to lead the company. The socio-human approach is a opposite way to technical rational approaches, it is more flexible and humanized to treat employees. the Google is not a traditional company, it depends on its power of innovation. In order to let the employee have better innovative thinking, Eric used this solution to make more advantages for the company. In detail, Eric use a mode which is small team management mode. He made each team have different duty in every areas. That mode is more effective than the old school management mode in real business practice. This approach has following favors :Frist one is that it allows the company to have bigger possible to attempt, let the company has newborn things as much as possible, so the change of success will be lager. There are many famous companies dying because lock of innovation such as Yahoo and IBM. Secondly, this approaches can make employees build up their sense of responsibility as the masters of this company, let them not feel working in a big company. And Eric give the decision-making power to the team, in the process of development, the team mates can have their right to change and improve the product, that also is a benefit thing for their customer. As the famous management education master Peter Ferdinand Drucker said “The man who focuses on contribution and who takes responsibility for results no matter how junior is in the most literal sense of the phrase, ‘top management’”. This is also Eric’s goal for using this mode. Thirdly, to reduce the cost of internal coordination, they believe that fast is better than slow in the Google company. The small team management mode can develop more products in shorter time because the team can use their decision-making power to make quick decision, to the failure of adjustment will be repaired easily and quickly. Comparing with other IT companies like Microsoft. When the Microsoft company developed the new windows system, there was a large group members which is several hundreds people to join this subject, it lead to take over years and progress slowly. This is a major point of the Google company can exceed the Microsoft company. The small working team can improve effectively and it is better than the large working group in this specific industry. A good idea will not become effective unless the action commitments have been built into the decision from the begining.

This kind of organization structure is organismic and duo to the Google is a information technology company, duo to that situation, Eric thinks it can help company have better advantage in IT industry environment. The faster update is Google’s powerful weapon to win their competition.

  1. The leadership of Eric Schmidt:

The definition of leadership is ‘Leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an organized group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement ‘(Stogdill. 1950). The effect of leadership is that make strong motivated to the staffs, let staffs work in unity and achieve goals.

According to trait theories of leadership, the leadership is relate to leader’s personality, In Stogdill’s five traits Model: Intelligence, Dominance, Self-confidence, High level of energy, and Task-relevant knowledge. Based on Eric Schmidt’s career , cover news and public speech, Eric at least has intelligence, dominance, and Task-relevant knowledge, these three models can find obvious evidences from his business career. It also can mean Eric has agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience.

Firstly, it is clear to see his self-confidence because he believe his employees, he can give the right of decision-making to every teams. Secondly, his openness to experience is also easy to find, during his CEO career in Google these ten years, the Google company developed many newborn product not only in their search function such as Chrome, Android, and so on. Third one is his conscientiousness, as a survey about 313 private company choosing their CEO, there are 215 successes, in these 215 CEO, Almost of them have conscientiousness. That means how conscientiousness important to a successful CEO. Eric Schmidt has been a leader in three big IT company, all of them become famous and successful in their profession area especially these companies have a higher maker value. Eric’s conscientiousness is proved by he having a strong sense of organization, and word hard. He organises the google engineering team in 70:20:10, it means seventy percent group focus on their product in the area of search function, twenty percent team work on product in other development area like Android, then the least ten percent team works in newborn things like pilotless automobile. Until now the Google still use this structure when they develop product.

In the other hand, there has another theory about leadership:Behavioral of theories of leadership. There are two fundamental types of leader behaviours : ‘Initiating structure’ and ‘consideration’. Initiating structure refers to behaviour which focuses on the achievement of objectives and includes clear supervision and role clarification, planning of work and a results orientation. Consideration includes behaviours which encourage collaboration and focus on supportive network, group welfare and the maintenance of job satisfaction. (Brooks, 2009)

Eric Schmidt is a consideration structure in this theory. There are some points to prove that. Primarily, Eric give a wonderful and comfortable working environment, this working environment has been first most popular working environment in the world for four years at American Fortune magazine. This is a evident welfare for employees. Secondly, Eric insists to give the power of decision-making to each work team, he is highly trusted to his professional employees, at mean time, the employee get a stronger sense of encourage than a good working environment. Eric get a vehement support from his employees during company developing time virtually.

Above two theories of leadership can not explain the leadership style of Eric Schmidt well, in order to give more thoughtful explanation. We appoint the third theory-Situational theories. One of situational theories is Fiedler contingency theory. This model asks the estimate of both the leader’s style and three broad characteristics of the situation:leader-group member relations, task structure, and position power. Primarily, In leader-member relations of Eric and his employees, it easy to prove they are real great, as the organization structure which Eric made, he and his employees have highly trusted with each other. That also can relet to situational leadership theory, his subordinates have enough ability to achieve his requirements, and he do not need to give too much guide to them. Secondly, the task structure is very clear in Google until now, Eric insists his 70:20:10 structure for the engineering development group. Thirdly, the position power of Eric is not very stong, because he give a part power of decision-making to every engineering development teams.

  1. Conclusion:

All in all, Eric Schmidt is a intelligent, professional, and accommodating leader. As we know that the Google culture is freedom and innovation since two originator of Google Sergey Brin and Larry Page starting the Google company until Eric been invited to be a CEO of this company, this culture never change. Eric’s experience is also perfect for the Google, first advantage is that he has a B. S. degree in electrical engineering at Princeton University and a phd degree in EECS at the university of California, Berkeley. These professional knowledge makes big different with normal CEO for the Google company. Second one is his ideal working experiences, before he came to the Google, the companies that he worked are all IT companies. Effectiveness is a habit, that is a complex of practices. The most significant thing is that he can run these companies very well and make outstanding achievement. Eric Schmidt makes the two originator believe he is the prefect role for The Google CEO. No matter using what theories to analyse the leadership of Eric Schmidt, he has proved that he is a suitable leader for this company during his career of Google CEO. Comparing with the famous Steve Jobs, Eric is not charming and distinctive as Jobs, but his leadership style is more appropriate for the Google Company.

  1. References:
  1. Koontz H. The management theory jungle[J]. Academy of Management Journal, 1961, 4(3): 174-188.
  2. Drucker P F. People and performance: The best of Peter Drucker on management[M]. Routledge, 1995.
  3. Stogdill R M. Leadership, membership and organization[J]. Psychological bulletin, 1950, 47(1): 1.
  4. lan Brooks (2009). organisational behaviour. 4th ed. Essex: Person Education Limited. p167.

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