This paper analyzes the leadership style of Google CEO; Eric Schmidt based on the of leadership concepts outlined by David Messick in his essay "On the Psychological Exchange Between Leaders and Followers". Eric Schmidt measures up very well on all the dimensions except Protection-Security.
In his paper, Messick analyzes leadership by focusing on the relationship between leaders and followers. Messick postulates that followers chose to be led because doing so provides them certain benefits. In choosing to be led, the followers act in ways beneficial to the leader. Thus leaders and followers are linked together in a symbiotic psychological relationship by exchanging benefits. Messick identifies five dimensions along which this exchange of benefits takes place.
Benefits Leaders offer Followers
Benefits Followers offer Leaders i
The first benefit of a Vision-Direction provides focus to the efforts of followers. It helps followers visualize a future state that is better than the current and motivates them to work towards it. Leaders provide answers to the questions "Why are we here", "What is our purpose", "Where are we going" and "How are we going to get there". If the followers identify with the leaders vision, they are more likely to take ownership of the vision and work towards the goal with minimal oversight. As the followers work towards the goal they expect leaders to provide them security, stability, continuity and a sense of purpose especially during times of uncertainty. In return, the followers feel an obligation towards the leader and his cause thus strengthening the bonds between them. On the next dimension of "Achievement and Effectiveness", Leaders convince their followers that audacious and difficult goals are achievable. The followers work hard sacrifice their own self-interest and are committed to the leader's goals. This common goal bonds the members of the group together increasing cooperation and chances of success. Leaders also foster the human need for belonging in the next dimension of "Inclusion and Belongingness". By being part of group the followers can enjoy the successes of team members as if it were their own. Followers with a sense of belonging are more likely to make sacrifices for the members of the group. This leads us to the next dimension of "Pride and self-respect", where followers feel valued for their contribution to the group and take pride in the group's achievements. Thus followers feel a sense of ownership in the outcomes of the group and are self-motivated. Even though the five dimensions are listed separately they are entwined. Leaders will find it hard to make a change on one dimension without affecting the other. However under certain conditions (e.g. war) one dimension may be more important than another. Eric Schmidt
Eric Schmidt has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton and a Masters and PhD in Computer Science from University of California, Berkley. He spent 14 years at Sun Microsystems progressing through various technical jobs, eventually leading the development of the Java language and becoming the Chief Technical Officer. In 1997 he took over as CEO of Novell with the goal of turning the beleaguered company around. After Schmidt's arrival the profitability at Novell increased. However the internet bust of 2000 greatly slowed demand, leading to Novell's acquisition of consulting firm Cambridge Technology Partners (CTP). Mr. Schmidt relinquished Novell's CEO position and assumed the role of chief strategist. In 2001, he joined the Google's board of directors and later became the CEO. Even though Eric is the legal CEO of Google he shares power with the founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in a triumvirate .
The leadership style of Eric...
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