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Google Company’s Situational Leadership Coursework

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Updated: Jul 30th, 2021

The current CEO of Google, Larry Page, is a considered a great leader because of his ability to apply situational leadership skills in resolving some of the problems that threaten the success of the company. He is a co-founder of the company together with Sergey Brin. He is a succeeded Eric Schmidt in 2011 after serving in the board for many years. The Forbes magazine ranked the CEO as the 19th richest in the country being approximated to be worth US$32.3 billion. Through his leadership, he has been able to invent PageRank, which is the Google’s leading search ranking algorithm.

His leadership skills have put him in high positions throughout his professional career. He established the company in 1998 and became its president until 2001 when Schmidt was hired as the CEO and chairperson of the board. The decision to replace Schmidt was reached in 2011 after an extensive consultation. The leader is believed to be the best when it comes to applying situational leadership because he models his wishes, expectations, and desires to suit those of his followers instead of forcing employees to obey the rules.

Keneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey developed a leadership style theory they termed as situational meaning the ability of the manager or the leader to adjust accordingly to suit the desires and the wishes of the followers. The style calls on the leader to change his or her style by incorporating the aspirations of the followers as opposed to forcing the junior employees to align their values and principles to those of the leader. In this regard, the style expects the leader to be dynamic in the sense that he or she will analyze the situation and explore the best options of dealing with the problem.

The CEO of Google, Larry Page, is one of the leaders who know how to apply situational leadership style in dealing with organizational issues. He has been applying the style in the organization even though many people might not be aware. The CEO considers the style a business language, as well as a framework that has the potential of developing the capacities of employees. The style does not focus on cultural, linguistic, or geographical differences since it insists on teaching people how to analyze the needs of clients and stakeholders.

Additionally, it encourages the formation of groups and teams, as it has the ability of resolving problems that threaten goal achievement in the organization (Burke, 2010). Because of his strong leadership skills, the CEO was made the president of the company acting as the director of software engineering, the deputy president, and later the general manager. With time, he took over as the head of operations having proved effective in dealing with issues that could have destabilized the performance of the organization. The CEO applied his skills and knowledge in improving the competitive advantage of the organization in the highly challenging technology industry in the country.

His knowledge on leadership helped the company in selling shares to the members of the public successfully, as he played a critical role in the facilitation of the initial public offering. He took over as the company’s president and the head of sales department to ensure the organization generated adequate profits. Upon the realization that the CEO was endowed with extra ordinary skills on leadership, the board handed him new responsibilities, including developing the corporate infrastructure that would be utilized effectively in maintaining the company’s rapid growth strategy. Again, the executive was charged with the role of ensuring quality standards are maintained to reduce the chances of product development cycle. PC World produced a report in 2007 showing that the CEO ranked high on the web together with the Google co-founder meaning his skills on leadership was recognized globally.

When competition between Google and Apple was at the top gear, the CEO was at the center stage with an aim of stabilizing things, which proves that his ability to apply situational leadership placed him at a better position to serve any board globally. Apple and Google are always the best performing companies in the world and an individual has to be smart, skilled, and knowledgeable to serve their boards. The CEO has been approached by various charitable organizations, institutions of learning, and non-profit organizations to serve as the director because of his extra-ordinary skills on situational leadership.

Recently, he was appointed to serve as director of Michigan academic institution. Institutions of higher learning are usually affected by lack of appropriate leadership, which might result in underperformance. In such organizations, leaders are expected to employ situational style of leadership in addressing problems since members would be unwilling to change their stances. In this regard, a leader is often expected to reschedule his or her desires and aspirations to suit those of the followers. Larry Page has the ability of doing this very well meaning he has the capacity of helping an organization in realizing its desired goal (Hurley, 2012).

The leader exemplified situational leadership in the sense that he always communicated with the relevant authorities and stakeholders on how to improve the performance of the organization. Without employing effective communication techniques, a leader is unable to pass the desired message to the concerned parties. In explaining the situational leadership style, the founders of the theory termed this aspect as telling meaning facilitating one-way communication whereby a leader issues commands to the relevant departments and sections of the organization with the sole purpose of ensuring required work is done at the right time (Arvidsson, Johansson, Ek, & Akselsson, 2007).

After establishing Google, the CEO undertook the responsibility of working closely with the sales department, as this would provide him with the opportunity of issuing commands to the most critical department. Apart from issuing instructions, the leader went a notch higher to justify his decisions, something the theorists referred to as selling the ideas through persuasion. Many leaders are good at designing policies, but they fail to convince their follows to adopt them. Situational leadership urges any manager or leader to align his ideas to the expectations of the followers instead of imposing them to the entire organization.

The CEO was always quick to convince members of the organization to adopt a certain approach in undertaking organizational duties. He always made sure that the decisions he made were in line with the thinking of the majority. Leaders employing situational leadership in their organizations are likely to consult other managers and stakeholders before making decisions. The CEO arranged a meeting with other top executives each week to collect their views on the performance of the organization and the proper course of action.

This aspect is referred to as participating meaning engaging in talks with other concerned parties before designing and implementing a policy in the organization (Whitmell, 2005). To the CEO, the opinions of each employee counted, as he always believed that every person has something special to contribute in the organization. Unlike other managers, leaders employing situational style of leadership are likely to delegate duties to other junior managers instead of simply instructing them to follow the decisions designed at the top.

While explaining the features of situational leadership, Blanchard and Hersey came up with four basic models, including M1, M2, M3, and M4. A leader in the M1 level lacks sufficient skills to accomplish the tasks meaning that they rarely take responsibility of their actions. Those in the M2 category have certain basic skills, but they rarely take responsibility of what they do in case things go wrong. Employees in the third level, M3, are highly skilled and experienced, but they do not have the self-confidence needed in designing the best policies. If a leader is in a position to take responsibility for his or her actions, chances are high that he or she is in the fourth level (Yeakey, 2002). The CEO of Google was in the M4 level since he always took responsibility for the decisions he designed in the organization.

Situational leadership benefitted the organization since the CEO never bothered employees to follow a strict organizational culture, but instead he formulated a culture that was consistent with the beliefs and aspirations of the majority. In other words, situational leadership gives the top management a chance to understand the issues facing the organization in detail. In this regard, the style enables consultations in the sense that the top executive is not able to design any policy without obtaining the views of his juniors (Raelin, 2012).

For instance, the CEO of Google ensured that both junior and senior employees reported to him any information that would strengthen the performance of the organization. During his tenure, the organization registered spectacular profits and it entered into contracts with various organizations, which boosted its performance internationally. An individual is not born with situational leadership skills, but instead they are learned because it entails the understanding of several steps that satisfy the needs of the majority.

Currently, I am at the evolving leader phase since I focus on influencing the opinions of others, motivating other employees, and empowering my followers to produce the best results. In the next one year, I intend to develop my leadership skills to the next level, which is effective leader meaning I will be comfortable leading teams and working in groups (Pride, Hughes, & Kapoor, 2010). Within three years, I will have achieved the luxurious phase, which is the enlightening leader whereby I will be in a position to teach others the qualities of good leadership.

The performance of the Google CEO will inspire me to attain the desired results, as far as leadership is concerned. In this case, I will have to focus on listening to the suggestions of others and incorporating them into my decisions instead of forcing my followers to adopt my policies. To move to the next phase, more training is needed, which means the organization should provide opportunities that will improve my knowledge base and skill levels.

References

Arvidsson, M., Johansson, C. R., Ek, A., & Akselsson, R. (2007).Situational leadership in air traffic control. Journal of Air Transportation, 12(1), 67-97.

Burke, W. W. (2010). Organization change: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Hurley, R. F. (2012). The decision to trust: How leaders create high-trust organizations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Pride, W., Hughes, R., & Kapoor, J. (2010). Business. OH: Cengage Learning.

Raelin, J. A. (2012). Dialogue and deliberation as expressions of democratic leadership in participatory organizational change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 25(1) , 7-23.

Whitmell, V. (2005). Staff Planning in a Time of Demographic Change. Oxford: Scarecrow Press.

Yeakey, G.W. (2002). Situational leadership. Military Review, 3(1), 34-76.

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