An opportunity to explore leadership approaches to managing organisations at different levels is a valuable practice in terms of studying unique concepts that contribute to companies’ financial growth and determine their managers’ valuable qualities. In order to analyse the theory of successful leadership in practice, it is possible to evaluate the performance of Sergey Brin, one of the founders of the world-famous Google company that owns huge financial assets. As assessment tools, Brin’s leadership traits and skills will be considered, and appropriate justification will be found regarding the relevance of his approaches. It is assumed that effective asset management and competent innovations are significant factors stimulating the growth of the corporation. Google’s performance depends much on current leadership practices, and its founder’s work is the subject of this research.
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The role of competent leadership is considered to be the crucial aspect of work which much depends on the personality of the manager and approaches he or she uses. As an example of such a personality, Sergey Brin will be discussed, one of the founders and developers of the Google search engine. Creativity and hard work have allowed this man to establish one of the largest and most powerful modern corporations owning multi-million dollar resources and controlling a significant segment of the information technology market. The aim of this report is to identify specific traits and skills that significantly contribute to the success of Brin, as well as provide recommendations for him as a leader.
The Choice of the Leader
One of the main reasons why Sergey Brin was chosen for the analysis is the significant results of the work he has done. According to Rajaraman (2018), Google has developed into a modern and global corporation with huge financial opportunities from a small start-up project where only a few people were involved. Brin managed to create a high-tech search engine and find an investor who helped the company achieve the introduction to the international market (Mueller, 2015).
At the end of the twentieth century, this search engine became known to the whole world, and its peculiarities were not limited to the capabilities of several servers (Tidd, 2014). Therefore, Brin’s leadership traits and skills are the objects of the analysis.
Scope of Brin’s Performance Evaluation
The Google corporation develops many new products independently and also invests actively (Florida, Adler, & Mellander, 2017). In 2005, Android was acquired for $130 million, and today, it is one of the leading mobile operating systems in the world (Berger & Brem, 2016, p. 58). In 2006, Google acquired YouTube, paying $1.6 billion, and a year later, it became the owner of DoubleClick, one of the online advertising pioneers (the cost of purchase was $3.1 billion) (Tran, 2017, p. 10).
Several more major investments were made in 2013-2014: $3.2 billion was spent on Nest Labs, producing devices for the smart home, and it took almost $1 billion to buy the car navigator system Waze (Tran, 2017, p. 10). Since 2015, the Google corporation has been called Alphabet, and today, its capitalisation exceeds $1 trillion (George, 2015, p. 95). A significant amount of free assets and opportunities are open to the leaders of the company (Jackson, 2014). All the considered practices indicate that Brin’s skills and traits are based on the promotion of high activity and the use of different approaches to the organisation of a profitable corporation.
Brin’s Leadership Approaches and Strategies
The assessment of performance skills depends on how effectively an employee assigns priorities and adheres to the principles of work that correspond to a particular area. According to Latham (2014), it is essential to realise “how the key aspects of leadership can create the environment for the systems thinking and design thinking” (p. 13). When evaluating Brin, it is necessary to take into account the fact that the company created by him is a recognised leader in its sphere, which imposes certain obligations and requires adherence to a competent approach to control overall operational processes.
As McCleskey (2014) notes, Grin uses a behavioural approach, according to which a leader’s effectiveness is determined by the style of management and the habitual manner of behaviour towards subordinates. Within the Google company, the liberal principle of control is applied. Such leadership is characterised by the minimal participation of the manager, and employees have the freedom to make independent decisions (Northouse, 2017). This way of organising the workflow has allowed the company under consideration to achieve significant success. In addition to the overall work strategy in relation to subordinates, it is also essential to consider the specifics of leading a hiring policy that Sergey Brin maintains.
According to the peculiarities of the workflow, Brin is not in favour of the standard form of the manager-subordinate interaction. As Ezzat, Le Masson, and Weil (2017) remark, Brin “used to hire very creative people and did not impose any formal subordination on them” (p. 22). Due to Brin being supportive, cooperative, and tolerant, he became productive in working with different subordinates preserving the creativity of the personnel. This aspect is crucial in the conditions of constant competition and the need for the regular replenishment of the company’s intellectual base.
In addition to cooperativeness and tolerance, other features can be applied to Brin with regard to traits theory. As Allio (2015) argues, leadership properties remain the same in different circumstances and conditions. It means that regardless of external factors, effective management is based on well-established standards. Intelligence, determination, self-confidence, and sociability are those features that may be considered Brin’s most significant characteristics, which allowed Google to overcome various obstacles to its formation (Eisenberger, Malone, & Presson, 2016). However, there are both strengths and weaknesses which stem from the above-mentioned features.
Intelligence and self-confidence make Brin a good leader who is logical and persistent in his decisions and who can make other people follow him. Determination and sociability allowed Brin to gather creative and qualified specialists who are dedicated to the overall goal of the organisation. It should be stated that weaknesses which arise from the above-described characteristics are not necessarily applicable to Brin.
Nevertheless, self-confidence may become detrimental if the leader does not consider the constructive critique of his actions. Determination and intelligence are strengths only if they are used for productive aims, tough when not for rational ones, these characteristics may appear to be disadvantaged, undermining the success of the organisation. It is difficult to identify any weaknesses of sociability, though if a person is only oriented at pleasant social relationships, he or she may fail to concentrate on other important connections.
Applying McGregor’s theory X and theory Y to Brin, one may note that Brin is a typical theory Y director. This is because Brin assumes that workers are internally motivated and they should exercise self-direction to work better. Brin also considers that for his employees, self-realization and self-actualization are as valuable as monetary rewards. Such an attitude has allowed Brin to gather a team of highly creative and dedicated individuals.
Brin’s skills should be analysed not only in the context of work with personnel but also from the point of view of a promotion policy in relation to the company’s products. According to White (2018), Google’s marketing moves are so successful that its licensed products are available in virtually all countries of the world. Moreover, as Tran (2017) notes, “Google looks at everything from a perspective of data,” which helps it to receive valuable information from customers (p. 10). Jackson (2014) remarks that the leadership of the company has managed to create a sustainable organisation. One may add that the leadership also helped achieve recognition through the quality and convenience of the content.
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According to Northouse (2017), and ability to combine personal knowledge, experience, and competencies in a single project confirm the presence of high leadership skills. In particular, one may state that Brin is intelligent and can adapt his knowledge and experience to various situations. Kerr and Kerr (2016) offer the concept of immigrant entrepreneurship and argue that labour policies supported by Brin are non-standard for a particular market segment, which has a positive effect on success.
Such a statement one more time highlights Brin’s exceptional creative skills. Cadwalladr (2016) argues that the Google search engine offers users the truth and accurate answers. These principles of Google are valued by the target audience, and the number of requests is steadily increasing regularly. According to Brown and Duguid (2017), when starting their career, Brin “noted the distortion to trustworthy results introduced by search engines” (p. xxii). This motivated him to make a difference and create an advanced search engine.
By applying and combining different methods of improving search engines, Brin showed his persistence and resilience. The combination of human, technical and conceptual skills is an effective tool used by Brin for essential growth opportunities. Speaking of technical skills, Brin has specialized competencies of CEO and computer engineer. He has a great analytical ability to elaborate and apply new ways for problem-solving. Such a set of technical skills mostly depends on Brin’s educational background. As a result, Brin has managed to create his unique system, which proves a large scope of the work done and productive approaches to the organisation of all processes.
It should be mentioned that Brin has exceptional human skills, which allowed him to create a team of creative and open-minded people aimed towards the same goal of optimizing their product. Taking into account that Brin applied theory Y in his attitude to employees, he is well aware of their needs. Finally, it is an undoubted fact that Brin has fantastic conceptual skills as he gained success due to his ability to work with concepts and abstract notions.
Areas of Good Practice and Spheres for Improvement
One of the most successful areas of the company under consideration is the innovation policy of products. According to Cirani and Picone (2015), numerous new goods are very popular among consumers. According to Lewis and Mills (2018), an opportunity to engage the staff in the active process of achieving goals by encouraging creativity promotes establishing good relationships among colleagues and achieving high-performance outcomes. Involving all the employees in active work aimed at maintaining the stable high status of the company could be the evidence of Brin’s competent personnel policy and, consequently, sufficiently developed leadership approaches.
When talking about spheres that deserve improvement, the policy of partnership may be more advanced. Google has monopolised a significant part of the digital market, and when a potentially successful project starts working, the company acquires it immediately. However, if mutually beneficial partnership relationships are established, it will attract additional interest in joint products and give other representatives of this sphere an opportunity to realise their ideas. As a result, new products may appear, which will attract potential buyers and, at the same time, bring profit to both companies.
In the future, the management of the organisation may allocate funds for the development of start-up companies and encourage the activity of other employees, helping them to develop their talent. These measures will certainly increase the diversity of the range of digital products and possibly provide an opportunity to develop new unique technologies. Based on the analysis above, the following recommendations can be made to Brin. The leader should consider building partnerships, doing joint projects, and reducing the pace of aggressive acquisitions.
The leadership traits and skills of Brin have been identified and analysed using trait theory and the three skills approach. The leadership methods of Sergey Brin are successful and effective since the company owns enormous assets and is regularly developed. The peculiarity of the internal policy is a non-standard approach to the subordinate-manager relationships, and much personal freedom is given to employees. Recommendations to follow the policy of reducing the activity in the area of acquisitions are given. Building partnerships may help start-up projects to bring new products to the digital market, and Google can contribute by participating in this process rather than monopolising the whole industry.
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