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Question:

Using relevant theories and models critically evaluate and analyse the leadership of 21st century business leader. If you were in the position of the leader what you could do to be better leader and make a stronger impact on the followers and on the situation/s.

 

Answer:

The role of leaders and the influence on the organization cannot be undermined by any stretch of imagination. The better the leadership and management is the more are the opportunities for an organization to grow forward (Locke & Latham 1990). Traits of the leader are the determinant for the better organization. The energy of the leader should be focused on determining the dissatisfaction levels of the employees. For the organizational change it is required that the dissatisfaction levels are channelized towards synergy of the organization. The vision of the leader and the charisma results in increasing the capacities (Kark & Shamir 2013). However it has been noted that not all leaders possess same traits and they can be different or poles apart from one another. The traits that are generally associated with leaders can be charisma, confidence, trust, intelligence.

For the particular study the Leadership of Bill Gates will be discussed and his role in creating company as big as Microsoft. Bill Gates has been a person that created the company from the scratch and became the Wealthiest and Richest Man of the planet. The dedication and the determination along with the leadership skills of Bill Gates will be the part of this study. The decisions taken by him as a leader and the thinking behind those decisions will form part of the analysis. The role of Gates as a Leader will be discussed in light of theories and models used in leadership. The study will then focus on the role of the student and what he could do differently if put in similar sort of situations will be the next portion of the task.

Bill Gates & Evaluation

William Henry Bill Gates, commonly known as Bill Gates was born in the year 1955. From the very early stage the interest of Bill Gates was towards programming. Bill Gates studied in Harvard University but was not able to complete the graduation as he was in process of building the company Microsoft in 1975. The interest of Bill Gates for computer and his dedication became part of his leadership style. The hard working Bill Gates developed programmes of Basic at the initial stages of the computer evaluation. The company Microsoft had the underlying vision that remained focused on the future of the computers. Bill Gates was hard working as stated earlier and his innovative skills also led to the development of MS DOS. The copyright of MS DOS was taken by IBM that had approached Bill Gates for its development. In 1983, the company Microsoft and the status of Bill Gates as a entrepreneur increased considerably. This was the year when Windows were launched as the operating system. This is till date the best operating system available in the markets. The leadership of Bill Gates can be analyzed from the fact that his leadership gave Windows, DOS, and Internet Explorer web browser to the world.

Leadership Traits of Bill Gates

Bill Gates has been a man whose traits have been the mode of discussion by many researchers (Jager & Ortiz, 1997). Bill Gates can be termed as a courageous leader due to the risks he took in co-founding Microsoft by dropping the studies in Harvard. Researchers have mentioned that his focus on the work has been phenomenal (Jager & Ortiz, 1997). Other has mentioned that Bill Gates has been intelligent (Dorfman and Gupta, 2004). From the early stages in his life, Bill Gates has been intelligent. He used to write programmes concerning computers and even languages. The characteristics of Bill Gates as a leader will be studied on the basis of the theories.

 

For a Leader to be influential the critical aspect is that can he imbibe the feeling of job satisfaction among the employees (Locke, 2005). The level of motivation is higher in the satisfied workers. These workers adopt the company policies and are likely to perform then the ones that are dissatisfied from the work. As discussed earlier the traits of the leader is determinant of the way the employees will work and the team will perform.

Hertzberg Theory

The theory of Hertzberg developed in the year 1959 is relevant in discussing about Bill Gates is because this theory is related to the job satisfaction. This opens the scope to discuss the role of Bill Gates as a Leader in ensuring job satisfaction. As per the theory there are various factors in the job that affect the performance of the person and his satisfaction in a different manner. While some factors result in satisfaction some other results in lowering the existing satisfaction among the employee. According to Herzberg (1964) the two factors are Hygiene factors and Motivational Factors.

Hertzberg Theory

Hertzberg Theory, Hertzberg (1964)

The theory mentions that the environment in which the employee work, affect the way they respond to the work. These are determined by the Hygiene factors. If the employees are given better environment to work and they are prevented from bad working conditions, it encourages them to perform. When the Hygiene factors are considered by the organization it results in the motivational factors. The employees become responsible, they believe in the achieving goals. Working environment and conditions also affected Bill Gates as he was motivated towards the work when the environment was better and working conditions were good (Jonathan-Eer, 2013). One way of motivating employees that Bill Gates used is to provide better working conditions for the employees. Although these are pacifying factors as per the theory it was utilized well by Bill Gates as a CEO. Highly satisfied individuals perform well in a team and have a lasting impact on the new employees. Apart from this bill Gates believes in ethical practices and policies including job security.

Transformational Leadership

Burns (1978) propounded the theory of Transformational Leadership. According to the theory the leader’s job is to motivate the employee towards hard work. The motivation of the leaders helps the followers to attain the preset objectives. Bill Gates success cannot be attached to mere luck. Bill Gates used to remain involved with the computer programmes and statistics and was focused. This resulted in him becoming the youngest CEO Billionaire. Bill Gates qualities as a leader can be judged by his foresight towards the capabilities of the computer markets in future. Transformational leadership styles of Bill Gates can be judged by the fact that he remained concerned with the dynamic nature of the business he was a part off. New technological innovations and adapting environment was therefore part of his leadership styles. Leaders should be able to predict the environment both internal and external. Being inspirational is also an added advantage for Bill Gates. The goals setting by Bill Gates was done as he had the vision and knowledge to change the future. This inspired the team mates to work for Microsoft and be a part of the learning and contemporary process. Leader was already inspirational therefore the dedication of the team was improved due to this.

 

The Transformational Leadership is judged by the fact that Bill Gates provided ideal working environment for the employees. The offices of Microsoft were designed for encouraging college campus like atmosphere. The idea behind the same was to create an environment which encourages innovative ideas (Beer & Finnstrom, 2009). Gates has been sometimes called for as a harsh CEO, but that has been alongside the steps he has taken to generate a better work culture (Davenport, 2008). Better work culture improves the workplace motivation and the employees output improves from that. As Bass (1990) mentioned, Transformational leader possess qualities of Charisma, Inspiration, Soft corner towards the employees, and has Stimulating effect (Conger & Kanungo, 1998).

 

Transformational Leader Qualities, Bass, (1990)

It is critical to note that the behaviour of Bill Gates has at times been harsh as Davenport (2008) states, but that he says is required for the purpose of increasing the work place output and meeting the goals. The creation of MS DOS for IBM, when Bill Gates did not have the resources is a part of the goal oriented nature of him. Researches from Law et al. (2004) mention the significance of being emotionally intelligent. Bill Gates has also been termed as emotionally intelligent, that means that he cares for his employees and understands the requirements. Studies from Martins (2003) mention that the participative style of leadership brings organizational changes and this is resulting in the innovation in the working style. Bill Gates style is termed as participative as he involved people in the working decisions. Manager should be a part of the decision making and should pass on the relevant knowledge to his subordinates so that the work culture is improved.

SARA Model

Being in the dynamic industry of softwares and computers, the role of Bill Gates as a leader cannot be undermined. His role is inclined towards the SARA Model developed by Kubler Ross (1981). There are four stages for the resistance towards the change, as SARA signifies Shock, Anger, Rejection, and Acceptance. Firstly, the employees might see changes things as Shock, they can be Angry with the management for the changes in the regular working styles, the next stage is that of rejection, where the employees feel that the change initiative will bring things to normal or make them worse. The last stage of the SARA model is Acceptance. Bill Gates has been powerful leader as he stuck to the goals and allowed the employees to participate in the decisions. This means that the Shock and Anger had a very limited role to play in case of Microsoft. Meanwhile, acceptance stage also took less time than normal because that came with effective participation.

Leading Differently Then Bill Gates

Bill Gates has been termed as a person that has been authoritative at times in order to achieve the goals. Team management can be done differently than that. Had I been a Leading the organizational Microsoft, I would be more accommodative and increase the satisfaction levels of the employees. Satisfaction and increased motivation will result in the employee’s attrition to stay lower. This is required at the time of competition with newer technologies like Android. Authoritative style of functioning will result in the resentment. I would have used the technique of Group development. Although, leadership style of Bill Gates has been highly inspirational and successful (Singh, 2013). The policies should be dynamic in nature and should be in line with the vision of the leader.

Conclusion

The analysis on the leader of 21st century was done. The study took into account the life of Bill Gates as a leader. The study mentioned that Bill Gates remained hard working and stick to his goals that created the company like Microsoft. As a leader, the style of Bill Gates was authoritative sometimes and also participative. This means that the team value was given attention. The role of the managers in the decision making was considered and they were made to participate in the decision making. For the discussion of the Leadership style, theories and models were considered. First was the Hertzberg theory, as per the theory there are various factors in the job that affect the performance of the person and his satisfaction in a different manner. During his tenure as a CEO, Bill Gates has adopted pacifying factors to motivate the employees. The employees were provided working environment that was inspired from a college campus. This helped the employees to work in the best possible manner and achieve the objectives set by the company. The discussion was then made on the Transformational Leadership style of working of Bill Gates. This can be judged by the fact that he remained concerned with the dynamic nature of the business he was a part off. New technological innovations and adapting environment was therefore part of his leadership styles.

 

Overall the leadership of Bill Gates has been flawless. The adoption of the management styles can be molded by the young leaders a bit. Rather than adopting an authoritative style of functioning as a leader, it should be accommodative. This will bring new ideas on board and even the reluctance of a single person handling the innovation and brining new techniques will not be there. This means that the organization can grow at a much faster pace compared to normal. Employees motivation levels in such cases can be higher.

References

Bass, BM 1990, ‘Bass and Stogdills Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications’, New York: Free Press. Vol (3).
Beer, M & Finnstrom, M 2009, ‘Developing an Engine for transforming your company’, LIA, Vol 29 (5).
Boyatzis, RE 2008, ‘Competencies in the 21st century’, Journal of Management Development, vol. 25(7), pp. 5–12
Burns, JM 1978, Leadership, Harper & Row, New York.
Conger, JA & Kanungo, RN 1998, ‘Charismatic Leadership in Organisations’, Sage, Thousand Oaks, California.
Daus, CS, & Ashkanasy, NM 2005, ‘The case for the ability-based model of emotional intelligence in organizational behavior’. Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 26(4), pp. 453-466.
Davenport, H 2008, ‘How to be the Next Bill Gates’.
Hertzberg, F 1964, ‘The Motivation-Hygiene Concept and Problems of Manpower’, Personnel Administrator, vol. 27, pp. 3-7.
Jonathan-Eer, 2013, ‘Leadership’ Online: Retrieved.
Kark, R & Shamir, B 2013, ‘Addendum: empirical evidence supporting “the dual level effects of transformational leadership’, in Avolio, BJ & Yammarino, FJ (eds.), Transformational and charismatic leadership, Emerald, Bungley, UK, pp. 103-110.
 
Law, KS, Wong, C & Song, LJ 2004, ‘The construct and criterion validity of emotional intelligence and its potential utility for management studies.’ Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 89(5), pp. 483-496.
Locke, EA & Latham, GP 1990, ‘Work Motivation and Satisfaction: Light at the End of the Tunnel’, Psychological Science, vol. 1, pp. 240-246.
Locke, EA 2005, ‘Why emotional intelligence is an invalid concept.’ Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 26(4), pp. 425-431.
Martins, EC 2003, ‘Building organizational culture that stimulates creativity and innovation’. Eur J Innov Manag, vol. 6(1): pp.64–74.
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