Preprint / Version 1

Three Traits to Rule Them All

A Recipe for Exceptional Business Leadership


  • Eric Azrak Yeshivah of Flatbush High School



Business Leadership, Google, Leadership styles


Leadership—what makes it effective and how can it transform teams? This paper dives into these questions, taking a close look at Google’s Project Oxygen, an initiative exploring the impact of managerial traits on team success. Back in the early 2000s, Google decided to challenge the conventional wisdom and ask a simple yet profound question: “Do managers really make a difference?” What followed was an extensive journey through performance assessments, employee feedback, and in-depth interviews, leading to the identification of eight crucial managerial behaviors, collectively named the ‘Oxygen 8’.

But this paper doesn’t just stop at Google’s findings. It brings in rich perspectives from leadership literature, emphasizing that while there are key traits that can enhance leadership, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Leadership is an art, painted in various shades and strokes depending on the context and the individuals involved.

To add color and context to the theoretical discussions, the paper presents a comparative analysis of two renowned leaders: Yvon Chouinard and Tim Cook. These stories aren’t just about juxtaposing an entrepreneurial spirit with a corporate mindset; they’re about illustrating how essential managerial traits play out in real life, across different sectors and leadership philosophies.

In the end, the paper serves as a reminder and a guide—it’s about blending the science of leadership with the art of managing people. It calls on leaders to not just adhere to proven managerial traits but also to stay true to their unique styles, continuously adapting and learning. Whether you’re leading a tech giant or a startup, this paper argues that the essence of effective leadership lies in a delicate balance of authenticity, adaptability, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.


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