The Process Of Leadership In A Firm Business Essay

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Leadership is a process of getting things done through people and it is not a science. It is all about responsibilities and in business leadership is the most important element for the success or failure of an organisation. It's often stated that leadership is all about setting directions for an organisation in responsible manner.

Taking the 2 personality namely Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey, from the humble beginnings, how multi-million dollar organisations has been created with good, responsible and directional leadership.

Apart from creating these successful organisations the founding fathers of both these organisations worked with a vision and created respected, honourable, highly ethical and admired organisations. Both these names are synonymous with success.

3. Bill Gates & Oprah Winfrey Background

Oprah Winfrey is well-known as the host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, her hard work, determination, dedication and confidence, has managed attract most of the American hearts from her TV show and become the most famous entertainment entity in America. Oprah, from Mississippi grew up in a farm and was raised by her grandmother. Her early career started in broadcasting field in WVOL radio when she was seventeen. In 1978, she served as news reporter and anchor at WJZ-TV in Baltimore. Oprah's turning point in career was in 1984 when become the host of AM Chicago, and later expanded renamed as 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' in 1987.It is the top ranked show on television until to day (Oprah Winfrey Biography, 2006). Oprah Winfrey acts as good example besides influencing & motivates people through her show. Her attitude becomes one of her effective qualities when in dealing with business or her staff.(Garson H, 2000)

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Bill Gates, born in Seattle, Washington, began his career in programming computers at age of 13. In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University and dropped out after 2 years, with his childhood friend Paul Allan established Microsoft. His vision was guided by belief that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and home (Microsoft, 2010) 'The Time Magazine named Bill Gates as one of the 100 most influential people of 20th century''. (Bill Gates, Encyclopaedia) his remarkable contribution to information technology, this is one of the reasons why Bill Gates is one of the best entrepreneurs, who successfully revolutionized computing through his mind and intelligence. Although Gates' services in Microsoft ended on June 27, 2008, he remains at Microsoft as non-executive chairman (Microsoft, 2010), after that Gates has been actively involved charity. The Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation provides help in several developing countries, contribute and donating money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs (The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2000).

4. Theories on Leadership - Critical Literature Survey

A review of leadership literature reveals that there are many leadership theories beginning with 'Great Man Theory ''Trait to Transformational leadership theories. An article updated by (Doyle and Smith, 2001) concluded that leadership can be categorized into 4 groups' which's agreed with (John van Maurik, 2001) work on Leadership (2001:2:3). These theories are Trait theories, Behavioural Theories, Contingency Theories and Transformational Theories.

4.1 The "Great Man "Theory

The "Great Man" theory postulates a leader as a highly influential individual regardless of personal, charisma, or great political impact. "Great Man" theory stresses that leaders are born not made. (Kendra Van Wagner)

4.2 Trait Theory

Trait theory is similar to the great man theory (Kendra Van Wagner, 2008), which assumes that people inherit certain qualities and traits that make them better suited for leadership. If particular leader has similar traits with personality or behavioural characteristics, they could also become great leader. To day research proves otherwise it is not the traits that make a leaders but it is inborn qualities, hard work couple with the vision and entrepreneur spirit that make leaders.

4.3 Behavioural Theories

Kendra Van Wagner,(2008) described that leaders are not made but born, it has focus on action or attitude of a leader.

Ohio State and Michigan studies (Stodgill 1948) are most widely selected for studies on behavioural theories. Doyle Smith, (2001) summaries, 4 main behaviour styles are concern for task, concern for people, directive and participate leadership.

4.4 Participative Theories: Kendra Cherry cited Levin's studies, that participative (democratic) leadership is generally the most effective leadership style. Leaders are constantly provided guidance to group members.

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The leaders also participate with the group and accept input from group members. Initiative participant amongst member's is encouraging, along the way the group members would feel the process, being motivated and committed to the decision-making process. However, in participative theories the leader reserves the right to accept the input of others.

4.5 Contingency Theories

Kendra Van Wagner (2008) described that in contingency theories environmental variables determine which leadership style is suitable for a situation. It depends on a number of variables such as, leadership style, qualities of followers, and the different aspect of the situation.

Doly & Smith (2001) However pointed out Fred Fiedler developed a contingency theory, which relates to the relationship between the leader and followers. The position power includes the rewards and punishments typically associated with the position are important variable.

4.6 Transformational Theories

A transformational leadership is a leader who transforms or changes the people in the organisation know as followers who trust the leader and contribute his /her behaviour towards achievement of the organisational goals (Bernard Bass, 1990).

In an article on Transformational Leadership Kendra Cherry cited, Burns explanation, "that transformational leadership can be seen when leaders and followers make each other to advance to a higher level of moral behaviour and motivation". Followers of transformational leaders would be influenced on change expectations, perceptions and motivations to work and achieve common goals. The positive aspect, it will create an enthusiastic work place and drive organisation towards innovation with people working through self motivation, certainly productivity is expected to be higher and efficient. In addition this theory totally depends on the ability of the leader, to inspire the work force contribution.

4.7 Situational Theories: Heresy and Blanchard (2001) cities these situational leadership model to represents situational theories. Situational emphasis is on leader flexibility to indicate characteristic of their subordinates. It is effective when there is sufficient time on hand or expected results are immediately needed. These short term goals can be achieved effectively (Hershey 1984). Strategies are constantly changing and it will be difficult for a leader to deploy new strategies continuously.

5. Leadership Qualities

5.1 Bill Gates Leadership Qualities

Bill Gates specific personality traits are:

Tolerance:

Gates is a well-known entrepreneur of the personal computer revolution, although he has many admirers, industry insiders criticize his business activities as anti-competitive, Gates has never responded to such matters; instead he concentrated on his work and his vision on building Microsoft (Lesinski, J. M. (2007).

Enthusiasm & Social Behaviour:

He has proved a success in business and generously charitable contribution, about total $100million has been given to health organisation and also $200 million were contributed for Gates library foundation in 1995. (Lesinski, J. M. (2007).

Confidence, Integrity:

Gates successfully initiated the software company MICROSOFT, after Intel launched a new chipset which was very affordable (McConnell, Brue, Nelson, Walstad, & Bingham, 1999) for personal computers with IBM. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, because he's realized he can make an impact to the world. This is shown that once opportunities come it should be capitalised or it will be forever lost and this has been the corner stone of Gates success.

Extreme Courage:

A renowned vision that "A computer on every desk and in every home" (Keegan, Davidson, & Brill, 2003) Gates made his dreams a reality and success, transformed Microsoft as one of the leading company in globally.

Passion:

He is very passionate about on how he transformed Microsoft. Gate's continually developed products for the computer industry and penetrated international markets and finally he succeeded leading the company in the software industry and received recognition. (Pipkin, 2005) This has shown that money isn't the real motivator but pursuing a dream and fulfilling it is the greatest satisfaction and a passion has to exist and the results will speak for it.

The most important leadership quality exhibited by Gates is that he belonged to exclusive group with unique capability and moulded Microsoft what it is to-day.

Charismatic:

The charisma of Bill Gates and emphasis on business building he was able to attract the 'Super Smart' & place the best employee in the right place, promote the collaborative culture within the company and created a knowledge sharing and effectively managing the flow of information and connecting each others and encourage employee learning from mistakes (Robert Heller, 2000).

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Visionary leader

Gates vision "A computer on every desk and in every home" has come true, this resulted from his aggressive actions based on the visions he carry about his organisation and today he has achieved the vision at the young age. Gates has proven his capabilities and the contribution to Microsoft has continuously development innovative and aggressive marketing strategies. He's spent majority of his time meeting with large number of customers and managed to secure several deals since the establishment of Microsoft. (Keegan, Davidson, & Brill, 2003).

Gates as visionary leader was able to predict the future trends and position Microsoft's products in such a way that they soon became the best selling products globally.(Robert Heller, 2000).

Transformational

Gates transformed Microsoft from a $1 company in 1978 to software industry leader in the market with total revenues of $58.4 billion in 2009 (Gavin ClarkeHYPERLINK "http://forms.theregister.co.uk/mail_author/?story_url=/2009/07/24/microsoft_fiscal_09_results/", 2009). Although Microsoft is leading in the market, Gates felt that the company should not become complacent but should constantly reinvent itself with innovative ideal and meet the requirements of even growing population in the younger generation related to information technology age.

With the constant dynamic changes taking place in the external environment Gates lived up to these challenges and anchored Microsoft to meet these dynamic changes by creating innovative products.

5.2 Oprah Winfrey Leadership Qualities

She's a born leader and her leadership is the ability to influence others by gaining the trust and support of the followers. She has been able to maintain the standard of her show and lived up to the expectations of her viewers. She has empathy and recognised as entertainment leader, magazine owner and movie producers and it is also a successful entrepreneur.

Oprah is an example of a superior and effective leader and her name is a brand by itself. She is intelligent, educated, self confident, honest, with good communication skill. She has been able to stand against critics on the issues on her show and brought the facts and figures in front of the world (Oprah Winfrey Biography, 2006).

Winfrey was "one of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th Century" for 5 years from 2004 to 2009 by Time- (Michelle Obama, 2009).

Cited in Vanity Fair 'Oprah Winfrey arguably has more influence on the culture than any university president, politician, or religious leader" Harrow, Susan, 2007)

Her ability to understand others has created social awareness such to increase the awareness of child abuse, as was honest and bold enough to share her own child hood incident in front of the world.(National Council, 2010)

She posses good social communication skills to convince others and create a connection with the media. During the time of Hurricane Katrina she made donation about USD 10 Million, of her own money towards the rebuilding of victim's houses and she appealed to everyone to openly donate. (UPI News Service, 2005)

Oprah's role a leader has been goal oriented and focused. A recent example is when she campaigned for Barack Obama in year 2007. (JHYPERLINK "http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/z/jeff_zeleny/index.html?inline=nyt-per"eff Zeleny, 2007)

6. Compare and Contrast Leadership Qualities with Leadership Theories and Models

i.) Bill Gates

Gates' leadership style is legendary, in terms of management managers should be able to evaluate and deal with subordinates. In addition business leadership should reflect their personal influence, justify own decisions and not always referring to the superior (GHYPERLINK "http://trendsupdates.com/author/grace/" Serrano, 2009)

Participative and Transformational theories have been founded to be applicable to Gates at different stages. Gates emphasis on decision-making is greatly influenced by employee empowerment sharing in the decision making authority with subordinates. This is very much a process called participative leadership. "It creates greater commitment among the employees by great them a sense of ownership and responsibility" (Gitman, 2005).

Gate's emphasis on instantaneous decision-making should exhibit for particular managers are required to decide both technical and business matters. "Interdependencies exist you can go see that person face to face" (Cusumano & Selby, 1995).

Gates belief that good communication among staff could increase productivity not only restricted to accomplish despite their superb abilities. (Cusumano & Selby, 1995). Transformational leadership theories truly reflect Gates leadership and successfully reacted decision and direction which caused his success and contributed tremendously to changes in the world of technology for homes and businesses.

ii.) Oprah Winfrey

Oprah's leadership is not focussed on achieving business success. Typically her leadership style is building a good relationship with her subordinates and makes herself as good example for others. She strongly believed corporations do not only exist to accumulate and earn profits but also to serve the needs of the society which is part of any organisations corporate social responsibility.

Leadership theories including directive, participate and situational leadership have been applicable to Oprah at different stages. Winfrey takes the similar approach to her business activities; she's manages and get involved in everything which relates to her business (Oprah Winfrey biolograpghy, 2006).

In 1988, Oprah owned Harpo production and took over control of The Oprah Winfrey Show (Bill Adler, 1997). One of the most remarkable observations was HARPO productions had eighty-six full-time employees who worked in Chicago, (Archambeau, 2006). She manages her company by employing a small size of top management team which has a direct span of control over employees, besides that she always tries to improve the working relationship and attitude towards her subordinates. She believes good relationship with subordinates, will be good in return for the growth of the organisation (Lowe, 2001).

Motivation not only makes other people work on but also to help them realize how to survive in their lives, one of the success element for Oprah and ability to influence other peoples (Archambeau, 2006).

Oprah is good at motivating people not only her viewers but those who are helped and benefited by her charitable programs which include employees under HARPO production, she treats her employees as her family (Oprah Winfrey bibiography, 2006).

The success of Oprah in her business and entertainment industry proves her principle: "If you are good, you will be treated well "(Lowe, 2001).

7. Oprah and Gates Leadership qualities contrast and similarity.

The amazing fact in this analysis is chosen 2 totally distinctive characters related to the business world, one related to the software industry while the other in entertainment.

Both of these industries are different from each other.

Bill Gates 's remarkable leadership style is definitely charismatic, and has been proved by himself having an undefeatable attitude and continues to renovated Microsoft's product from Dos interface to the windows environment (Lesinski, J. M. (2007).

It has tremendously changed the world of technology and made his dream a success. Gates decided to contribute his efforts for his foundation by giving out his wealth to charity. This is significantly similar with Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey is a leader who shares her wealth with unfortunate people helping them in building schools in South Africa and the rest of the world. (Deborah White)

In terms of leadership behaviour and styles both are quite distinctive. Mr. Gates has an assertive character, whereas Oprah Winfrey is a pretty jolly character and influences, motivates people not only those who watch her shows, but also others who have benefited from her charitable programs. (Paul Davis)

Both of these leaders have great charisma; however the writer would like to stress that, the source of charisma is totally different.

Mr. Gates charisma truly reflected from his energy, empower, judgement skill, and management position in the business world, while Ms. Oprah's charisma comes from her character, lovable personality and influence.

Gates and Oprah's achievements teach us that both hard work and determination can certainly give guidance to success, Gates sacrificed his university education to pursue his dream and vision in software development, became as leader with outstanding accomplishments and inspired people around the world.

While Oprah Winfrey as a situational leader started her talk show to pursue her career in the entertainment industry, and later in the business world. She's truly influenced and created plenty of followers.

8. Opinion about Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey leadership styles

Bill Gates is a fast learner leader, adopting to changes fast and with his enthusiasm, visionary attitude and decentralized authority make the organisation structure better (Mukul Pandya and Robbie Shell, 2004). In the writers' opinion Gate's leadership was transformational style with a vision, the company's mission is to constantly be a leading in development software, and to retain each leadership position in the industry.

Gates fast learning attitude, agility and his ability to understand new market conditions and an ever changing environment help him to develop new products to the various information areas like the internet, and others. Acquiring smaller internet companies enabled the Microsoft to move forwards and upwards (Robert Heller, 2000).

Bill Gates is also an authoritative leader because it exemplifies his leadership abilities.  He's able to successfully transform Microsoft to be leader in the industry. This leadership has been what his vision was. Although Gates left the daily operations of Microsoft Company, he still remind as non-executive chairman, with his energy, hard working nature, judgmental skills, empowerment and encouragement friends working with him truly reflect his personality and vision.

When Oprah initially started her business she was seen to be an autocratic leader and actively involved with the company's operations to promote her own brand and magazine. Her talk show attracted millions of viewers.

Oprah's directly involved in the planning on her talk show and magazine, denotes her as a successful personality. Her willingness to be open, honest, straightforwardness and accessibility to her manager and subordinates has been another feather in her leadership qualities.

Situational leadership was found to be applicable for Oprah, as she was responsible to inspire her followers via her talk show which changed many people's lives as the situation demanded. She had the capability and credibility to influence others. In fact she is running the show for the past sixteen years and her role as a goal oriented leader has been established. (Paul Davis)

Although Oprah's leadership is truly admirable, she doesn't forget to take care of the less fortunate people. She take initiative extend help for those baldy need of support, in addition inspires others help less fortunate people.

9. Conclusion

Leadership theories has been discovered over past decade and have been researched, the concept that leaders are born does not hold water, it is now known that they are made due to situations. There are records on Gates and Oprah different leadership styles exhibited by them at the different stages in the development of their businesses which contributed to the transformation of business leadership itself.

Their leadership styles inspired followers contributed and supported success factors of their business. Leadership theories including transformational, situational and participative theories have been found applicable to Gates and Oprah at different stages.

Gates is an example of a charismatic leader; his charismatic qualities have been truly reflected on his management of Microsoft. It also has been found during several interviews that Gates is the greatest living visionary with good communication capabilities; Gates has proved himself to be an excellent Charismatic and a transformational Leader. (Jennings, Interviewer)

Whereas Oprah Winfrey is an example of a situational leader, she does influence and motivate people and has earned the respect and support of her viewers and the popularity at large.

Bibliography:

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Management of Organizational Behavior, 9th Edition, Prentice-Hall, New Jessey

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