Former Google Employee Voices Criticism of Senior Leaders, Alleging a Decline in their Capacity to Make Difficult Decisions

Technology

Google, renowned as one of the premier workplaces, is celebrated for its extensive employee perks and benefits. Despite undergoing significant layoffs in the past year, the company maintained its status as one of the highest-paying firms in 2022. Periodically, individuals make headlines for impressive salaries earned while working at Google. However, the company’s leadership team has faced criticism on multiple occasions.

Last year, an employee with an 18-year tenure at the company criticized its work culture and CEO Sundar Pichai. Now, another former Google employee contends that the senior leadership team at the company has ‘lost the ability to make tough calls.’

In a post on Threads, the ex-Google employee, with 15 years as a Project Manager, identified a recurring issue known as ‘fiefdoms.’ He observed that specific groups or teams acted as if they were in charge of everything. Interestingly, he attributed the main problem not to engineers or Project Managers (PM), but to numerous senior leaders who had ceased making challenging decisions or resolving team conflicts.

“I saw fiefdoms a lot, but eng was rarely the root cause and PM was rarely the solution. It was a creeping failure of too many senior leaders, who lost the incentive/ability to make tough calls or resolve team conflict,” he wrote.

According to the ex-Google employee, crucial decisions that should have been swiftly addressed by high-ranking leaders became entangled in prolonged debates among mid-level managers. These debates, lasting months, involved junior employees repeatedly presenting ideas. This created an opportunity for non-tech departments, such as policy, legal, and finance, to assume leadership roles. He explained that top executives found it easier to discuss risks or costs than to navigate conflicting opinions and progress 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.

“By the end of my tenure, a PM would get into more trouble for disagreeing with Global Affairs than for failing to launch valuable software in a commercially reasonable timeframe,” he added.

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