Leadership entails the ability to influence individuals or groups towards the achievement of the organizational goals. It helps in shaping the goals of a group or organization and motivates behavior towards the achievement of these goals. This is accompanied by the assistance of defining the group or organizational culture with the main aim of influencing. Leaders appointed to a certain position in the organization carry the mandate of recognizing that a functional and constructive organizational culture plays an important role in ensuring that their organizations perform to their potential (Daft, 2011). Over the years, this is an issue that has been highly debated upon in that there are various differences that exists in the aspect of leadership and managerial roles. With these differences lies the aspect that some managers are able to influence followers to work towards the achievement of organizational goals. The fact that they confer to formal authority does not give them the mandate to become leaders. They may have authority but it may be the determining factors in their ability to influence their subordinates (Daft, 2011). Leadership ensures that business organizations are provided with clear vision, effective planning, new ideas, inspiration and motivation. A good example of such organizations that focuses on the importance and roles of managers through leadership is Microsoft Corporation. This paper will focus on the leadership assessment paying more attention to the leadership style of Bill Gates and the organizational structure of Microsoft that saw the rise of the company to among the leading technological companies in the world (Lussier, 2012).
Bill Gate’s Leadership Styles
Before analyzing the leadership styles applied by Bill Gates, it is important to consider the different leadership styles of a senior executive and the effects they have on the subordinate. There are different leadership styles that exist in work environments where each of them differing advantages and disadvantages involved have. The first leadership style is the Laissez-Faire which describes the way leaders lack direct supervision of employees (Saxena, 2009). It also entails the description of the way leaders fail in terms of providing regular responses to the employees under their supervision. This style inhibits the productivity of employees that are highly trained and experienced and need supervision. It thus produces little or even no leadership or supervision efforts from managers which may eventually result to poor production or lack of control within an organization. This may increase the costs incurred in the production process (Saxena, 2009).
Similarly, there is the autocratic leadership style that facilitates managers to make decisions entirely on their own without the considerations and input of others. In this style, leaders have the complete authority and at times impose their mandate on other employees. Leaders are not challenged in the decisions they make which may result to employees benefiting from such kind of leadership (Saxena, 2009). However, the employees who value group functionality may disapprove of this type of leadership. This type of leadership is followed closely by the participative type of leadership where the leaders value the input of other team members and peers. However, despite this valuing of other people’s input, leaders have the responsibility of making the last decision on their own. It highly contributes to the encouragement of employees by boosting their morale as the employees get to make contributions towards the process of making decisions. It makes them feel valued in the aspect of giving their opinions as well as helping them to accept the changes made within an organization (Saxena, 2009).
The transactional leadership style describes the process where managers receive certain tasks to perform and in turn provide rewards or punishments to team members depending on the results of their performance. In this case, managers and team members set predetermined goals together and the employees agree to follow the direction and leadership of the manager in order to accomplish the goals of the organization. The managers in this style have the powers to review results and train or suggests the correct the employees when team members fail to observe the organizational goals. Motivation occurs through the rewards that include bonuses that are given to employees anytime they accomplish the organizational goals (Saxena, 2009).
Transformational leadership style entails the dependability on high levels of communication from management to meet the goals. Employees are motivated by their leaders who boost the chances of productivity by ways of communication and high visibility. This leadership style requires the involvement of management in order to meet the organizational goals. Additionally, leaders aim at attending to the holistic view of the organizational goals and delegate the smaller tasks to the team to accomplish goals (Lewis, 1998).
Bill Gates’ leadership style has led the Microsoft Corporation to be one of the leading software providers. He is driven by his instincts as an innovator and entrepreneur who mainly focus on the visions that contribute to the growth of the Microsoft Corporation as a market leader in software industry. Additionally, his leadership techniques involved a mixture of autocratic, visionary and participative approaches that are observed through the way he is actively involved in developing technology for new products as well as making a variety of strategic decisions.
Organizational Structure and Culture of Microsoft Corporation
Bill Gates’ leadership style has ensured that most of the time he spends with customers and employees around the world. This system applies the notion that Bill Gates expects his managers to have their own personal influence and make decisions with assumptions that they are the CEO of the organization. These aspects brought out the participative style where all the employees were expected to chip in their efforts. This was followed by meeting his managers on a regular basis for discussion regarding the business strategy. In essence, this helps the team in the organization through making important decisions that observe the workplace values. It also ensures include: accountability, impacting differences and focusing on details. This may be coupled with the delivery of quality products and answers, honesty, keeping promises, reliability, positivity, meeting deadlines and helping others (Harris and Hartman, 2002).
Through the leadership of Gates, there are various techniques and managerial planning processes that may be applied to motivate employees. These techniques include providing a meaningful and challenging work. This will make the employees view their work as meaningful in terms of making significant differences in one way or the other (Harris and Hartman, 2002). They will also encounter challenges that enable them to expound their capabilities and become internally motivated after accomplishing these goals. These create a sense of achievement, responsibility and enjoyment in the employees as they will be recognized for their efforts and skills. The next principle that is necessary for organizational leaders is setting clear targets and expectations as well as measures of performance. This creates a sense of aims that gets the employees ready to give their best. The goals and expectations should be clearly spelled out to bring out the necessary behavior and performance levels (Harris and Hartman, 2002).
Additionally, Bill Gates ensures regular, direct and supportive responses in order to improve and motivate as well as inspire the employees. This is coupled with the designing of the roles of people to utilize their strengths. It also enables employees to input their ability and choices in how work is done (Harris and Hartman, 2002). Gates makes all the decisions regarding technological and innovative decision within the organizations as well as sets the future for the follower or rather customers. This allows the employees to move forward in terms of technology through his visionary style of leadership.
Bill Gates’ Performance
Bill Gates has been regarded by his followers as an expert in what he does as he has the power and influences that emanates from his mother and intelligent father. He uses these aspects and distinctive personality to impact business agendas. He is also charismatic in that he has always wanted to contribute to the growth of developing countries. He is visionary leader who empowers developing countries with the capability to help others. He uses these traits to drive the Microsoft Corporation in making decisions that encompass technological and innovative ideologies (Lussier, 2012).
Importance and challenges of Diversity
The management of diversity marks the vital aspect in the vast growing competitive global marketplace. It creates and maintains a positive work environment where the similarities and differences of individuals are valued. The concept in this case includes acceptance and respect that require the understanding of the fact that each individual is unique and the recognition of individual differences (Harris and Hartman, 2002). These differences can be built along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, as well as physical abilities. The main challenge that managers face while dealing with management of diversity is racism. This problem poses threats for many managers as they have to align the beliefs of others cultures and values into the organization structure (Harris and Hartman, 2002). The challenges are also prevalent through the resistance of change and the cohesiveness and interpersonal conflicts.
Addressing the challenges of Diversity
In managing diversity, organizations are able to compete better in that they are able to call for the recognition of the contributions that individuals can make. Organizations are also able to determine the cultural differences as well as the work attitudes where the abilities of members from other groups to perform within the organization. These processes avoid discrimination as the different cultures are incorporated which gives the organization an upper hand in effectively operating in global markets (Daft, 2011).
The most effective strategy that would address the issues and the challenges identified would include various aspects. These aspects include the incorporation of effective corporate strategy that offers business and corporate strategies. Here the ability to recognize and take advantage of trends and opportunities as well as the identification and mitigation of weaknesses and threats in the organization (Daft, 2011). This strategy would help in identifying the opportunities and he potential of the employees within the organization if at all the leaders would focus on the best strategies to motivate them to bring out their skills. It would also incorporate balance scorecards that create a string link between corporate strategy and the objectives required to execute against that strategy (Daft, 2011). Management of corporate risks would also be important in that it helps in identifying and mitigating the risks from failure to comply with regulatory requirements. This would also be accompanied by the assigning of resources through refined processes that include monitoring the employees through motivational channels (Daft, 2011).
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Harris, O. J., & Hartman, S. J. (2002). Organizational behavior. New York: Best Business Books.
Lewis, J. P. (1998). Team-based project management. New York: American Management Association.
Lussier, R. N. (2012). Management fundamentals: Concepts, applications, skill development. Mason, Ohio: South-Western.
Saxena, P. K. (2009). Principles of management: A modern approach. New Delhi: Global India Pub.