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What would Larry Page do? Leadership lessons from Google's doyen

April 18, 2011: 10:22 AM ET

While he remains something of an enigma, Larry Page's leadership style and ideals are becoming increasingly clear. Here are a few strategies that managers can learn from the Google co-founder.

By Vickie Elmer, contributor

FORTUNE -- After Larry Page resumed the chief executive job at Google two weeks ago, he didn't hold any big employee meetings or give interviews with major media outlets. Instead, he plopped down $900 million to acquire the patent portfolio of Nortel, including some that relate to mobile networking technology.

Larry Page, Google's CEO

Larry Page took the reins as CEO at Google on April 4.

Google's (GOOG) general counsel Kent Walker portrayed the acquisition as a strong defense against patent trolls, but acknowledged that it also gives the company room to grow and add to its Android apps and usability.

Spending $1 billion on patents offers an important clue to what matters most to Page: innovation. While some say he is trying to emulate Steve Jobs and Apple (AAPL), Page's leadership style is distinct -- and shaped by both his background as an engineer and his upbringing as the son of two computer science professors in Michigan, where he likely learned lessons from General Motors' (GM) woes.

Page has spent his entire career at Google, and while he remains something of an enigma, his leadership style and ideals are becoming increasingly clear; he talks about them in commencement speeches, in talks to faculty, and to co-workers and Google executives.

His management style is relevant to anyone who's growing a business or looking to stay ahead of fierce competitors, not to mention complacency. Here, then, are five leadership strategies from Larry Page: More

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