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Analysis of individual aspects of leadership

This assignment gives me opportunity to study and write about the “Leadership” and understand exactly what the leadership is. Assignment also gives me opportunity to study about my favorite leader and explain his leadership skills, so I selected “Bill Gates” as he inspires me because he is a very successful business man. Also, he is a great leader for his Microsoft Company.

Leadership Style of Bill Gates:

Introduction

William Henry "Bill" Gates III, (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, philanthropist, author and was chairman of Microsoft until 2008, the software company he founded with Paul Allen. He is consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009, excluding 2008, when he was ranked third. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect; he has also authored or co-authored several books.

Bill Gates is a modern business phenomenon.   Bill Gates achieved his success through his leadership style, remarkable vision, and obsessive desire to win.   He has distinguished himself as producing the top software for personal computers through his strong desire for success. Bill Gates has the characteristics of entrepreneurial leadership.   He has found and operated an innovative business that developed a world’s renowned software.   Bill Gates is a task oriented and charismatic person.   He drives himself and others, but yet uses his personality to inspire others. His pure genius and leadership qualities took software to a level that was unmatched by anyone.

Bill Gates – A Successful Entrepreneur:

With reference to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010): Principles of Leadership, South-Western/Cengage, 6th ed.” Managers working in big organizations have some responsibility for suggesting innovative ideas for furthering the business aspect of the firm. As such, the manager should regularly read trade publications to keep up with the rest of the industry, talk with customers or others in the organization to keep aware of changing needs and requirements, getting involved in situations outside the unit that could suggest ways of improving the units performance, such as visiting other firms, trade shows and participating in educational programs (P-15).

Gates is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the world. He is able to run a successful and a profitable entrepreneurship for many years and even today, we cannot survive in this competitive world without it.

Characteristics of Bill Gates:

Intelligent:

According to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” “Charismatic leaders have vision, are emotionally intelligent, encourage personal development of their staff and provide supportive leadership (P-86).

Bill Gates believes that if you are intelligent and know how to apply your intelligence, you can achieve anything. From childhood Bill was ambitious, intelligent and competitive. These qualities helped him to attain top position in the profession he chose.

Vision:

With reference to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” Leadership, in contrast with management, involves having a vision of what the organization can become and mobilizing people to accomplish it (P-6). A major contribution to a company transformation is the visionary thinking of leaders (P-67). A truly charismatic leader will work hard to create positive visions for group members (P-69).Charismatic leaders are visionary leaders because they offer an exiting image of where the organization is headed and how to get there. A vision is more than a forecast. It describes an ideal version of the future of an entire organization or unit (P-72). A major buzzword in leadership studies is vision, the ability to imagine different and better future conditions and ways to achieve them. An effective leader is supposed to have a vision, whereas an ineffective leader either lacks vision or has an unclear one (P-75).

Bill Gates is a person with great vision, from day one, Gates dreamed of having a personal computer in every home, in every business and in every school. Throughout his career, he never once wavered from this dream. Focusing on software as the means to popularize the PC, Gates built his empire around this central vision and steered clear of all other distractions. And, the vision continues today. “We are not even close to finishing the basic dream of what the PC can be,” he says, Microsoft's vision is "A computer on every desk and Microsoft software on every computer he will continue to stomp out the competition until he dies. Every business and household must have a computer and must run Microsoft software”, was the basic guiding vision of Bill Gates.

Passion:

According to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010” A dominant characteristic of effective leaders is their passion for their work and to some extent for the people who help them accomplish the work (P-42). “Authentic leaders demonstrate a passion for their purpose, practice their values consistently, and lead with their hearts as well as their heads (P-38).

When as a student at the Harvard University, every single student would have wanted to be part of the great institute and graduate to be successful, Bill Gates decided to stop studying and pursue his dream of writing software’s for every computer in the world He was just passionate about software, coding and technology that incidentally also made him the richest man in the world.

Innovation:

According to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” The ultimate meaning of innovation is delighting the customer. Innovation only exists when it provides a benefit to the customer (P-67).

In late 1977, Gates released a version of FORTRAN language for microcomputers. In 1978, Gates and Allen introduced a version of COBOL. In 1979, Microsoft developed a new version of BASIC. He had an early interest in software and began programming computers at the age of thirteen. Bill Gates “Microsoft is not about greed. It’s about Innovation and Fairness.”

Risk Bearer:

According to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” Constituents believe so strongly in the integrity of the charismatic leader that they risk their careers to pursue the chief’s vision. Charismatic leaders are also able to make group members feel capable (P-72).

In his junior year, Gates took risk and dropped out of Harvard to devote his energies full-time to Microsoft, a company he had started in 1975 with his boyhood friend Paul Allen for development of new products.

Continuous Learner:

With reference to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” Leadership skills can be developed by following a general learning model that involves acquiring conceptual knowledge, reading examples, doing experiential exercises, obtaining feedback and practicing in natural settings (P-28).

Never stop learning was the Mantra of Bill Gates which he follow till date. This empowers him to be a Great Leader of our times.

Bill Gates' Secrets of Success

Hard work:

According to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010” A truly charismatic leader will work hard to create positive visions for group members (P-69).

Bill Gates is a hard worker since the beginning of his life. In his college days, he used to work all night long on his computer. When Microsoft was started, Bill Gates used to sleep only for 6 hours in a day without skipping a single day of office.

Entrepreneurship:

With reference to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” An analysis in the Harvard Business Review concluded that the most basic role for corporate leaders is to release the human spirit that makes initiative, creativity and entrepreneurship Possible (P-15).

Entrepreneurship is an integral part and is present in Bill Gates from the beginning. He knows how to manage his work, he always takes a keen interest in learning, he learns from his own mistakes, he is a creative person and, most of all, and he is focused towards his goals.

Confidence:

According to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” A common characteristic of leaders is the ability to inspire and stimulate others to achieve worthwhile goals (P-2). Leadership is the ability to inspire confidence in and support among the people who are needed to achieve organizational goals (P-27). A leader who is self-assured without being bombastic or overbearing instills self-confidence in team-members (P-34).

Bill Gates has always been a highly confident person. He was always confident about his dream of becoming successful.

Managerial Skills:

With reference to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” The ability to lead others effectively is a rare quality. It becomes even rarer at the highest levels in an organization because the complexity of such positions requires a vast range of leadership skills (P-3).

The great managerial skills of Bill Gates helped Microsoft to be a successful company. He efficiently managed all the areas of the company which required his focus.

Technical Mind:

According to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” An effective leader has to be technically competent in some discipline, particularly when leading a group of specialists (P-53).

Bill Gates is born with a highly technical bent of mind. It is a gift of god to him. Microsoft has earned lots of success through this technical mind.

He Had a Solid Team:

With reference to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” Leadership requires eliciting cooperation and teamwork from a large network of people and keeping the key people in that network motivated by using every manner of persuasion (P-6). A key aspect of a leader’s role is to build an effective team. This includes ensuring that each team member are recognized, initiating activities that contribute to group morale, holding periodic staff meetings to encourage team members to talk about their accomplishments, problems and concerns (P-15).

Bill Gates Said, “If we weren’t still hiring great people and pushing ahead at full speed, it would be easy to fall behind and become a mediocre company”. As the company grew, he insisted that they hire only the most capable young minds and strove to create a small and creative environment for them to thrive in. Microsoft succeeded not only because of Gates, but also because of the strong team that stood behind him.

Long-Term Approach:

According to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” Adopting long range perspective and at the same time observing organizational issues from a broad rather than a narrow perspective (P-85).The transformational leader also commits to greatness, adopts a long-range perspective, builds trust, and concentrates resources where change is needed the most (P-92).

Gates has long term thinking approach. He said “In the decade ahead I can predict that we will provide over twice the productivity improvement that we provided in the ‘90s”. This bold statement captures Gates’ philosophy behind his entire business. Never one to chase after instant success or an immediate pay-off, Gates began coding software with a view to the next fifty years. Gates’ long-term approach helped ensure Microsoft’s remarkable staying power.

Learn From Failure:

According to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” Covering up mistakes, especially when everyone knows that you did it, destroys trust quickly (P-35). The authentic leaders typically learned from their experiences by reflecting on them. A study found that the leader being authentic is the only way to create long-term positive business results (P-38)

In hindsight, Gates’ early failures seem so miniscule that they are almost laughable. But, as a struggling entrepreneur, he went through the same frustration, confusion and despair that others in his situation also face. What distinguishes Gates from the rest was his ability to rebound from his mistakes and take whatever lessons he could from them. He then became even more resolute and determined to see his vision realize.

Never Stopped Asking Questions:

With reference to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” Most people can move towards becoming more extraverted by consciously attempting to be friendlier towards people. Including smiling and asking questions (P-38). There are many times when leaders can be effective by asking tough questions rather than providing answers. A tough question is one that makes a erson or group stop and think about why they are doing or not doing something. A tough question may also be considered the right question (P-104).

When Gates faced a dilemma, he didn’t stop and give up. He asked questions about what could be done to solve the problem. From his business activities to his philanthropic efforts, Gates’ curiosity and desire to constantly be learning has been one of the key factors behind his success.

Task-oriented leadership:

With reference to “DuBrin, Andrew (2010)” This is generally a person who founds and operates an innovative business. This leader is typically task oriented, charismatic and dirve themselves and others relentlessly, yet their personalities often inspire others. They have a strong achievement drive and sensible risk taking, high degree of enthusiasm and creativity (P-117).

Bill Gates is more likely Task-oriented leader who wants performance from his subordinate/follower and work has to be done to achieve the goal/objective of the company.

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