Former Google employee criticizes senior leaders, says they have lost ability to make tough calls

A former Google employee spoke out about the company's senior leaders and said they have lost the ability to make tough calls.

by Vikash Kumawat
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Google is considered one of the best places to work and is known for the perks and benefits it offers its employees. Despite massive layoffs last year, the company is still set to become one of the highest-paying companies in 2022. And sometimes, there are people who make headlines for the impressive salaries they receive while working at Google. However, the company’s leadership team has also been criticized on more than one occasion.

Last year, an employee who had worked at the company for 18 years criticized its work culture and criticized CEO Sundar Pichai. And now, another former Google employee says the company’s senior leadership team has “lost the ability to make the tough calls.”

In a post on Threads, the ex-Google employee wrote that in his15 years as a Project Manager at Google, he often observed a problem known as “fiefdoms,” where certain groups or teams acted like they were in charge of everything. Interestingly, he noted that the main issue didn’t usually stem from the engineers or the Project Managers (PM). Instead, they identified the real problem as many top leaders who had stopped making tough decisions or solving problems within the team.

He wrote, “I saw a lot of fiefdoms, but England was hardly the root cause and the PM was hardly the solution. It was the failure of many senior leaders who lost the incentive/ability to make tough calls or resolve team conflicts.”

According to the ex-Google employee, important decisions that should have been taken quickly by high-ranking leaders got stuck in lengthy debates among mid-level managers. These managers engaged in lengthy debates for months, using junior employees to repeatedly present ideas. This situation created an opportunity for non-technical departments such as policy, legal and finance to take charge. He then explained that this was because it was easier for top executives to discuss risks or costs rather than deal with different opinions and move forward together.

“This opened the door for non-tech functions like policy, legal, and finance to step into the leadership vacuum, because it was easier for senior execs to hide behind warnings about risks or costs, than to negotiate competing views and move forward together into the unknown.

He said, “By the end of my tenure, a PM will be in more trouble for disagreeing with global affairs than for failing to launch valuable software in a commercially reasonable time frame.”

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