Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corp., speaks during a Bloomberg event on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is not the kind of leader to boast and beat rivals. He’s been more measured since he replaced the more open-minded Steve Ballmer seven years ago. He’s forged alliances with challengers like Red Hat and Salesforce, and even made it possible for people to use Amazon’s Alexa assistant in the Windows operating systems.
On Thursday, he put his more peaceful approach into words when former Microsoft executive Jeff Raikes asked him what leadership advice he was giving within the company.
“Just to say, ‘Well, my team is great and everyone else sucks’, that’s not leadership,” said Nadella an appearance at the Economic Summit organized by the Stanford University Institute for Economic Policy Research. “In a multi-stakeholder, multi-component world, you need to bring people together within and outside of your company.”
Not only does Nadella stand out from Ballmer, who criticized the efforts of rivals like Apple and Google, but it also differs from his peers at other big tech companies, including Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff.
Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 while co-founder Bill Gates was still in charge. But Nadella is also different from Gates. In a 2013 Ask-Me-Any session on Reddit, he wrote “Seriously, Bing is the better product at this point,” despite Google having a controlling market share in Internet search.
In contrast, Nadella’s Microsoft has become more tolerant of other business forces. While open source software has historically been viewed as a competitor, in 2018 Microsoft bought the open source code storage service GitHub for $ 7.5 billion, and the company integrated the Linux open source operating system into Windows.
If Nadella is different from rivals, he is less pronounced. At an Ignite conference held by Microsoft on Tuesday, for example, he said that “no customer wants to be dependent on a provider who sells them technology on the one hand and competes with them on the other” – probably a reference to Amazon that im There is competition with some of its cloud customers.
Here are some of the other points about leadership that Nadella mentioned at the virtual event:
- “Leaders have this innate ability to walk into situations that are uncertain and ambiguous and that bring clarity … Leaders are not people who get into a confusing situation and create more confusion. They actually create clarity, and that’s kind of a thing That executives absolutely do need to hold themselves accountable. “
- “Leaders create energy. You know when you’ve met someone who is a leader because you go out and say, ‘Wow, I want to be in the parade. I want to be part of that team.'”
- “Executives don’t say, ‘Give me the perfect pitch to perform.’ I can’t say, “Let me wait for the pandemic to clear to show my leadership skills.” In many cases, you have to face an overconstrained problem and take the pressure off yourself and especially the team you lead, so that it can continue to achieve things. “
Nadella said no one will be perfect. But he wonders if he’s better than yesterday.
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