Organizations are restructuring the way they do business due to the rapid changes in the global economy. Furthermore, globalization has introduced competition that compels organizations to implement appropriate strategies for survival. Competitive, ethical, and visionary leadership plays a central role in the success of any organization in the contemporary competitive business environment. Organizations require transformational leaders who possess outstanding leadership skills to facilitate rapid changes. Among the intelligent corporate leaders in the United States is Bill Gates, who has an outstanding personality.
His personality and leadership traits are evident in his ability to improve the odds through successful influence. Bill Gates’ leadership traits revolve around his parents’ support and encouragement to think freely. The main objective of this paper is to evaluate Bill Gates’ leadership as a transformational leader.
Bill Gates as a transformational leader
Carter et al. define transformational leadership as a leadership approach in which the person involved motivates his or her followers to focus on the organization’s objectives (692). Transformational leaders articulate a vision that aims at convincing subordinates to make changes that are beneficial to the organization. Furthermore, such leaders influence their followers’ beliefs and values to the extent that employees change their perceptions concerning the organization.
Furthermore, transformational leaders guide their followers toward achieving personal and corporate goals (Carter et al. 693). Transformational leadership revolves around Weber’s theory in relation to charisma (Strom, Sears, and Kelly 73). With charisma, such leaders can shape their followers’ values and motives with an aim of aligning them with an organization’s goals and objectives (Strom, Sears, and Kelly 73).
During his tenure as Microsoft’s CEO, Bill Gates united employees in his organization by pooling their interests and aligning them with corporate interests. For example, he ensured that Microsoft’s workers worked in teams, thus enhancing the speed at which projects were completed. Moreover, Gates held regular meetings with the organization’s administrative and technical managers to establish the company’s progress (Guo et al. 14).
According to Gareth and George, transformational leaders will implement measures to establish an organization’s progress in the course of implementing its projects (44). During this time, leaders suggest measures to eliminate an organization’s flaws and weaknesses (Gareth and George 45).
Gates never failed to criticize weak presentations, and he advised the management teams on how to strengthen their proposals and business strategies. Furthermore, in a bid to promote personal growth, Microsoft trained its employees in a bid to keep up with the technological changes in the industry. Training contributes to fulfilling an employee’s job satisfaction, thus curbing high labor turnover in an organization. Furthermore, sufficient training equips employees with the knowledge, thus motivating them to make fundamental changes to the advantage of an organization (Carter et al. 695). The implementation of such strategies underscores the low employee turnover in Microsoft during Gates’ tenure as the CEO.
According to Lussier and Achua, transformational leadership depends on individualized consideration, inspirations, and intellectual stimulation significantly (68). Furthermore, such leaders are vision-oriented for them to motivate and inspire employees to aim at long-term corporate goals. Such a move tends to convince employees to abandon their individual needs and interests and focus on the company’s goals and objectives (Lussier and Achua 69).
Gates developed some of these traits by venturing into software production before Microsoft became a large organization. With reference to vision, Gates ensured that he treated software as a business. Initially, writing computer programs and codes was Gates’ hobby on which he spent a significant proportion of his time. Although he indulged in computing, he was not limited to it as a hobby, and thus he used his technical expertise to elevate Microsoft’s business. For example, with Gates’ help, Microsoft acquired an operating system from the Seattle Computers prior to the launching of IBM personal computers (Guo et al. 15). Such a move depicts Gates as a vision-oriented leader who foresees the future and places his company in the position of taking advantage of the opportunity.
Furthermore, vision-oriented leaders are known to implement long-term strategies that enhance the acquisition of competitive advantage. For example, with the introduction of the Internet in the late the 20th century, Gates was quick to predict the changes in the technology industry. With his prediction focusing on this new market condition, he introduced Internet software for the Microsoft-empowered machines.
In Gates’ view, the Internet was fascinating in computing, as it would revolutionize the industry significantly. The ability to predict market changes and implement appropriate measures is an indication of Gates’ high intelligence levels that were characterized by his ability to analyze and interpret changes. With reference to individualized consideration, transformational leaders ensure that projects are implemented in line with their suggestions and directives. In the course of the project presentation, Gates defended his proposals and convinced employees to accept them even when he stood alone (Guo et al. 8).
As an aggressive person, Gates assumed aggressive moves with an aim of making Microsoft a market leader in the technology industry. For example, at the onset of the Internet era, he integrated the Explorer browser into the Microsoft Windows operating system. Such a move was to ensure that Microsoft remained ahead of its competitors in the software business. Additionally, coming up with the Explorer browser depicts Gates as an innovator, who used the available tools to support new developments (Guo et al. 9).
Lussier and Achua posit that transformational leaders are innovative, and they encourage employees to embrace creativity in a bid to improve productivity and quality (72). Moreover, Gates worked with a team of talented employees, hence contributing to Microsoft’s success. For example, Microsoft’s employees were talented to the extent that they could design and merge other programs, such as Word and Outlook, among others, to generate a variety of products.
Transformational leaders base their corporate relationships on trust. Furthermore, they depict self-confidence and moral conviction as ways of showing that their goals are attainable (Lussier and Achua 81). For example, as the company’s CEO, Gates placed the company’s long-term interests at risk by partaking in projects whose outcome was unknown. For example, Microsoft bundled its operating system with the Explorer browser at the time when people were not certain about the Internet’s survival.
In another instance, Gates entered a contract with IBM PC to develop software in basic and other languages. This move was the first time for Gates to undertake such a contract; hence, the outcome of his work could hardly be verified. Gates’ move to undertake projects for the first time not only revealed him as a risk-taker but also as a person who had self-confidence in his work and convinced about his success (Guo et al. 16). If Gates had these traits, it is evident that he passed them to his followers, thus motivating them to venture into new projects without fear of failure.
Gareth and George agree that fear hinders creativity and innovativeness among employees (114). The fear of failure will motivate people to repeat processes whose results are certain, hence hindering developments within an organization. At no point did Gates scold employees after the failure of new projects. As opposed to conventional transformational leaders, Gates was result-oriented, and he pushed employees toward achieving the set goals.
Such a trait is evident in his failure to accept inappropriate corporate goals and concentrate on his proposals, as he believed they would enhance Microsoft’s corporate goals. Perhaps, Gates’ unconventional behavior could be attributed to the fact that he was committed to maximizing return on investment. Gates recognized this aspect as the appropriate strategy for attaining market leadership in the market (Guo et al. 17).
Nevertheless, Gates was highly concerned with the people’s welfare, as he believed in justice for all. As a way of giving back to society, together with his wife, he founded a philanthropist organization in the 1990s. The organization aims at improving learning and health status across the world by funding college education for students from minority groups. Furthermore, the organization actively participates in financing health issues such as the eradication of polio and AIDS across the globe.
Although the foundation is a charity organization, Gates allows benefactors to evaluate how the organization spends its finances. Such a move accounts for accountability as opposed to the practice in most private organizations. According to the corporate laws, private organizations are not open to public scrutiny, especially when dealing with financial matters. However, being a change agent, Gates allowed stakeholders to scrutinize the company’s financial records to determine how efficient the funds were being used.
From his traits as a transformational leader, one can highlight Gates’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. With reference to the strengths, Gates is an expert and he used this trait to position Microsoft as the market leader in the industry. Furthermore, Gates used his personal attributes and sheer willpower to determine the direction that the business was supposed to take coupled with motivating employees to share the company’s corporate vision.
With reference to weaknesses, Gates avoided conflict resolution, unlike most of the conventional transformational leaders. On opportunities, he used his position and power to build a brand via all the available and necessary means. Furthermore, his philanthropy was an opportunity to develop the rest of the society. As an influential and powerful leader who is known across the globe, being in the limelight is a threat to privacy. People hardly lack inappropriate traits, but these trivialities will prevail because of fame, thus exposing a person to negative criticism.
Transformational leaders influence their followers to change their goals in line with the corporate goals and objectives. With reference to Bill Gates, he is an exemplary leader, who transformed Microsoft to a business leader in during his tenure. First, Bill Gates was a vision-oriented leader who influenced employees to sharing the organization’s goals and objectives. Furthermore, he encouraged creativity and innovativeness within the organization by spearheading the implementation of new projects. Contrary to most leaders, Bill Gates avoided conflict resolution mechanisms and followed personal proposals that he deemed appropriate to the organization. Nevertheless, Gates believed in giving back to society, which underscores the motive behind the establishment of a charity foundation in the 1990s.
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