How To They Leaders Will Be That Empower People?
One with a little patience for social norms, so much so that he gobbled up an entire chicken roast with a spoon, may be because his time was dedicated to bigger achievements, and little did the world know that this man was not born to follow the mundane but to lead by example. Bill Gates, the achiever that he is and over the ages having become synonymous with the word ‘Great’, is the world’s richest and his gift to mankind is Microsoft. Gates who frequents the Forbes Top 100 lists, is a businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist and most cardinally a leader at par.
Born in a well to do family, his parents wanted him to be a lawyer as his father was a lawyer himself but Bill surely had something else in mind. He took interest in computer programming. Fascinated by how the machines would execute software code perfectly, he soon wrote his first computer program named ‘tic-tac-toe’ which allowed users to play games against the computer. His interest grew more in the programming world to which he went on to study various practices and this time more deeply. Gates enrolled at Harvard College after he was a National Scholarship Scholar from the Lakeside School. Choosing pre-law major in Harvard maybe to please his father, Bill still never lost interest to the programming world as he also indulged in high level mathematics and graduate level computer courses. Not having a definite study plan, Gates used computers at Harvard for his interest and soon dropped out. When Allen his batch mate, showed Gates a magazine article about the world's first microcomputer, the Altair 8800 both saw an opportunity and called the manufacturer, MITS, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and told the president they had written a version of the popular computer language BASIC for the Altair. When the president agreed to their ideas, it was a success and their first company ‘Microsoft’ got registered. From a tic-tac-toe to Microsoft, Bill made it work out perfectly for him through his ‘vision and charisma’.
A very lucid lexicon definition of a charismatic leader is one who is driven by his conviction and commitment to the cause. This leadership style relies heavily on the charm and the level of persuasiveness of the leader. Charismatic leadership also translates as transformational leadership because of the similarity in their traits and mannerisms. One identifiable trait of charismatic leaders is that they are adept communicators and are proficient in connecting to all ranks and forms.”
The basic characteristics of this leadership are:
A charismatic leader always inspires his employees to stretch their abilities. He can even motivate an average employee to rise above his or her incompetence and give a desirable performance. This makes the employee feel an integral part of the company and that person is endowed with an in built satisfaction knowing that his opinion matters.
It provides a good leadership example for employees.
A leader with a charisma instils hope in his employees, becoming an encouragement for the latter. Employees learn from the optimism of the leader and grow more confident with each passing day.
It offers growth opportunities.
Such leaders always try to bring out the best in their workers by highlighting their strengths and working on their weaknesses. They create opportunities for growth leading to promotions. A yardstick for many organizations, this type of leadership increases promotional opportunities.
No one makes a good leader overnight. Bill Gates too had to burn the midnight oil striving hard to become what he is today. The leader that he is today took years of making as his colleagues have recounted in various interviews the drastic change that has dawned over the great man for the 39 years that Microsoft has been around.
He used to visit new product teams and ask difficult questions until he was satisfied that the teams were on track and understood the goal. He recruited people resembling similar traits of his own. Dedication, passion, compassion, values and hard work were all that was required to achieve the vision. In 1981, Microsoft became a corporation, the management shared between Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
Gates himself conducted interviews. “I don’t hire fools,” he said once. If necessary, he would persuade a candidate he favoured. He also realized that the most important thing in business is intellectual capital. His team consists of the best minds, the strongest programmers of the world. Through his charisma and the people he chose to work, with he became the leader as he successfully shared his vision and made others believe in it. He famously said, “there is no time for hesitation as the value of what you have achieved very quickly comes to zero, and in the world of computers it is the most noticeable.
His dominance in the global market of computer industry for a few decades was not an easy one. As of 9 April, 2015, Microsoft’s market share reached 91.02%, confirming its success. However, Gates, reluctant to these numbers, said, “Success is a bad teacher. It makes smart people think that they can’t lose.”
A recent Forbes article highlighted his efforts to improve on his communication and public speaking skills (Forbes). Gates is also known for his wisdom in seeking council from others. He often speaks of how much he has learned from Warren Buffett. Gates once commented that Buffett has a “brilliant way of looking at the world” (BBC). Like a sponge, Gates tries to soak in lessons learned from his mentor in order to become a better leader.
This type of leadership translates as one in which the leader has a clear vision of the future. That person possesses wonderful visions of where he would like to take his company in the future. He creates achievable goals which are not very futuristic. His greatest trait is he makes achieving that goal look easy. The very specific traits can be categorised as below.
Very much like a charismatic leader, a visionary leader has good communication skills. He knows how to verbalise the dreams that he has foreseen and can explain the same to his team lucidly. A visionary leader believes in participation and therefore, is also an active listener. They listen to their ideas and thoughts, incorporating them into the larger goal while helping the team members meet their personal goals.
A visionary leader often functions independently. They head in organising meetings and forums in offices and get other leaders to take part in them. The leader often sets up the organisation by establishing key departments or functions. He directs, develops and conducts meetings. He puts his thought into building the solid foundation for anything new through establishing boards or councils.
One significant mannerism of this kind of leadership is that visionary leader never shies away from taking risks. They know risks are the paths to achieving something great. They gamble but measuring the pros and cons before taking the plunge. Creative by nature, they take initiative with appropriate action and can capitalize on prime conditions. They take calculated steps and end up taking up bigger risks.
Visionary leaders are the one that make best business moves. They create strategic action plans which take him toward his ultimate vision.
In case of Bill Gates, he never stopped dreaming. Despite his success, he did have to contend with anti-trust litigation claiming that Microsoft was a monopoly. In 2011, after a 21-year battle in the court system, the case was finally put to rest after numerous threats to break the company up. . “I recommend staying ahead of trends and not behind them” was his attitude.
On 5 January, 2015 Bill Gates presented an ingenious machine called Omniprocessor that turns faeces into clean drinking water. This was aimed at helping 2.5 billion people in the world suffering from a shortage of drinking water. Developed by Janicki engineering management company, and funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it was a good investment for small and middle-class entrepreneurs in developing countries. Entrepreneurs who invested will get paid for the input: sludge and the same would get paid for the outputs: electricity, water and ash. Later this year, it is going to be set up in Dakar, Senegal as the pilot project. Bill’s vision was the Omniprocessor could handle waste from 100,000 people, producing up to 86,000 litres of drinking water per day and a net 250 kw of electricity.
Attempting to explain his tremendous success, industry experts have observed that there are really two sides to Bill. One is a computer geek who can "hack code". The other is a hard-driven businessman who can look beyond with an innate instinct for the marketplace. This combination enabled Gates to see what his competitors could not.
A world that is constantly scrutinising his work and the paparazzi never missing out on a chance to report a single moment of great Gates, he doesn’t have an iota of pride in him and continues be the same learner that he was when he fell in love with programming.
The most standout traits of him would surely be his passion and vision towards a better future which he unknowingly make people believe in him and follow this leader of leaders. The success mantra to good leadership is, therefore, not what one makes of oneself but what makes of others and how that one person motivates others never to let go off the fiery zeal called passion.
Chemers, M. (2011). An integrative theory of leadership. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8058-2679-1.