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A Role Model: The Leadership Qualities of Bill Gates
What makes a leader worthy of being emulated? Is it the fact that the person in question frequently tops the chart of Forbes billionaires? Is it the fact that he designed computer programs that virtually revolutionized the computer operating experience? Or is it the fact that he is also one of the greatest philanthropists of our times whose work in global public health and disease prevention has inspired generations of givers. When it comes to Bill Gates, one can safely say that it is the combination of all of them that makes him stand apart.
A College Dropout who followed his heart
Many wondered how a college dropout can succeed in life. For Bill Gates, it meant following his heart and passion for computer programming. Years of hard work and a substantial experience in computer programming led him to come up with MS-DOS, an operating system that brought to life millions of personal computers. For almost two decades, MS-DOS was used by computer operators before being replaced by successive generations of Windows operating system.
The savvy programmer in Gates matched in equal measure with an efficient manager. Till 2000, he was the chief executive officer (CEO) of Microsoft and had a significant say in developing its long term product strategy. After his retirement, he created the position of chief software architect and continued to develop new Microsoft products. Some of the most innovative software programs of today have been made by Microsoft. Windows have become a household name, while Skype — a telecommunication application software — provides free video chat to millions. Xbox is a video gaming console developed by his company that brings video gaming experience for children and adults alike. The chief reason for his success was therefore his ability for product innovation which he deftly combined with his business pragmatism.
Although many of Gates’ managerial decisions has been criticized by experts as being abusive and monopolistic in nature which attracted a legal suit against him by the US federal government, his public image remained untarnished. Like a true leader, he passed on the mantle to his long time friend and Microsoft employee Steve Ballmer who in turn turned Microsoft into the most profitable PC software company in the world.
A Visionary and a Philanthropist
What sets Gates apart from other business entrepreneurs is the fact that he is one of those rare business leaders who believe in giving more than earning. In 2000, he founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to tackle global problems often ignored by governments and corporations. The foundation concentrates on tackling global health issues like AIDS, polio, tuberculosis and malaria. The foundation is frequently described by NGOs and other philanthropic workers as one of the most generous privately funded philanthropic organizations. Furthermore like some of the most important philanthropists of our times, Gates and his wife have decided to give almost 95 percent of their family wealth to charity.
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