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The Emotional Intelligence of Google CEO Sundar Pichai

What's the biggest part of Sundar Pichai's job as Google's boss? You might be surprised to find out


I couldn’t believe I was actually asking this question. I was working on a story about Google when my contact offered an amazing opportunity: an exclusive interview with Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

There was only one problem: The time they offered conflicted with a very important personal appointment–one I couldn’t reschedule. 

“Why don’t you just ask if they can start later,” my wife suggested. “I know he’s ‘the CEO of Google.’ And I’m sure he’s extremely busy. But you could give it a try.”

Umm … OK. So, I did.

A few minutes later, I got my reply: 

“No problem! Totally understand. Let me check … “

Followed a few hours later by: 

“Sounds like Sundar can do that time tomorrow! Will send a calendar invite shortly.”

Wow. I hadn’t met Pichai yet, but I was struck by a few things from this initial interaction:

  • The fact that Pichai was so willing to accommodate my request
  • How polite my contact at Google was to me, and respectful the company was of my time
  • How she (my contact) spoke about and referred to Pichai, respectful yet friendly

These were great examples of emotional intelligence at work. And although the focus of my conversation would be on Google’s new certificate program (which you can read here), Pichai stayed on to answer some questions on empathetic leadership and psychological safety.

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