In his book, Work Rules! Laszlo Bock, Google’s longtime head of People Operations, lists the decisions managers at Google cannot make unilaterally:

Whom to hire

Whom to fire

How someone’s performance is rated

How much to increase someone’s salary or give a bonus or stock grant

Who wins awards for great management

Whom to promote

When code is of sufficient quality to be incorporated into the Google code base

Final decision on a product and when to launch it


So, what exactly do managers actually do at Google, Fortune magazine’s seven-time #1 Best Company to Work for in the world?

“Managers serve the team,” says Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO and Executive Chairman. 

A manager’s job is to clear roadblocks and inspire their team.

Which is a great working definition of servant leadership, our leadership philosophy at PCI.  

Servant leadership is a long-term proposition, i.e. you don’t have a meeting, decide to call yourself a servant leadership organization, and then everything is different. But with time – in our case over twenty years – servant leadership has changed how we operate.  

It’s made us a much better company.


Reflection:  What are my underlying beliefs about the people on my team?

Action:  Have a conversation around Google’s philosophies on management.

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