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Leadership is about making others successful

There are more than enough leadership philosophies. Some of them are clear and understandable, others are rather a loose series of common catchwords. Since leadership has to do with people, leadership philosophies always provide insight into the respective conception of man. Sundar Pichai has found a very concise and positive philosophy for himself and Google, which should inspire many on the way to New Work: Leadership is about making others successful.

Much has been written about modern leadership and especially the leadership of knowledge workers. Leadership is only legitimate if it serves the purpose of self-management of the people entrusted to it, Götz W. Werner once put it. Leadership must provide orientation with maximum autonomy but without fear or micromanagement.

If we, you said, only take people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat them as if they were what they should be, we take them wherever they should be.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It’s not easy to develop a leadership philosophy suitable for the situation and for the people involved from this plethora of ideas. This task becomes even more difficult in an organization that consists almost exclusively of highly qualified knowledge workers. Sundar Pichai has succeeded in doing just that, and he has also put his apparently very successful leadership principle into a very simple formula:

As a leader, a lot of your job is to make those people successful. It’s less about trying to be successful (yourself), and more about making sure you have good people and your work is to remove that barrier, remove roadblocks for them so that they can be successful in what they do.
Sundar Pichai (Source: QUARTZ)

Sundar Pichai deliberately does not focus on individual excellence, but on a culture of collaboration. While elsewhere the struggle for visibility for the purpose of an individual career hinders collaboration, Pichai wants a culture in which people enjoy working together:

I also value teamwork quite a bit and I think it’s really important to build organisations where people really want to work together. Everything comes out of that. So, setting up collaborative cultures is another big thing I’ve been trying to focus on.
Sundar Pichai (Source: QUARTZ)

New: The Book on the Manifesto for Human(e) Leadership

On the occasion of the first anniversary I published a detailed version of the Manifesto for Human(e) Leadership on Leanpub. I am looking forward to feedback and impulses on the one hand and, of course, to broad dissemination on the other. Please spread the word!

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Filed under: Leadership


Hi, I'm Marcus. I'm convinced that elephants can dance. Therefore, I accompany organizations on their way towards a more agile way of working. Since 2010 I regularly write about leadership, digitization, new work, agility, and much more in this blog. More about me.

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