| 15 November, 2021 | 6 Min Read

Inside Bill Gates leadership journey of building Microsoft from nothing

Bill Gates is one such person who changed the world of technology. While creating a billion-dollar company to satisfy his love for technology, Bill Gates not only influenced his team members but also the world to some extent. One reason for Microsoft’s success is Bill Gates' leadership style. Eager to know more? Let’s get into it.


eing a business owner and a humanitarian at heart explains why Bill Gates adopts transformational leadership. He believes that growing while transforming the lives of people around you is the best way to achieve success.

Bill Gates is amongst the list of leaders in the business world who are known for their transformational leadership. Steve Jobs and Elon Musk are also part of the 21st century’s most influential CEOs list.

Other than creating history and developing high-performance Microsoft products, Bill Gates has other interests that shaped him into an admirable personality. His inspirational charisma not only got him success but love from the masses.

Gates believes that growing while transforming the lives of people around you is the best way to achieve success. He has demonstrated this commitment through his work at Microsoft, as well as through his philanthropic endeavors.

One of the key elements of Gates' leadership style is his focus on employee development. He believes that employees are the company's most valuable asset, and he is committed to providing them with the resources and support they need to succeed.

To this end, Gates has invested heavily in training and development programs, as well as in free HR software and free 360 feedback tools. He believes that these tools can help employees to improve their skills, develop their careers, and reach their full potential.

In addition, Gates is a strong supporter of productivity apps. He believes that these apps can help employees to be more efficient and effective in their work. He has even developed his own productivity apps, which he uses to manage his own schedule and workload.

Before dissecting Gates' leadership style, let’s get a sight of his journey so far.

About Bill Gates

Bill Gates' love for software programming and technology started in his early childhood. After completing his schooling, Gates enrolled at Harvard University. However, his journey at Harvard didn't last quite long, as he quit in 1973 after reading an article about Altair microcomputers.

To pursue his passion, Bill Gates, along with his friend Paul Allen, started “Microsoft”, which is the world's largest personal computing software company in today’s time. On starting this company in 1975, Bill Gates along with his co-founder had many breakthroughs including the programming language BASIC and the MS-DOS program for IBM.

Besides being a business owner, Bill Gates juggled multiple roles like software developer, philanthropist, humanitarian, author, and investor. After a decade of starting Microsoft, Gates was included in the Forbes list of the richest people in the world. He held this position for 14 years (1995-2003).


Bill Gates’s unique approach - Transformation leads to success!

As the co-founder and former head of Microsoft, Bill Gates adapted a transformational leadership that not only changed the company culture but also motivated its employees to be the true advocate of the company.

Time management

"No matter how much money you have, you can't buy more time.” - Bill Gates

Bill Gates considers time to be the most valuable asset in his life. He knows success doesn't happen overnight and instead; it is cumulative of your hard work and efforts. 

Till today, he is very peculiar about his time. Bill Gates believes that he can buy anything in the world, except for more time. Following this ideology, he plans his day very precisely and ensures that his time is used orderly. He maintains a tight schedule with every minute being dedicated to a specific task.

While adopting this approach himself, Bill Gates encourages his team members to do the same.

Grove HR -  Bill gates leadership style

  • Lead with a vision

    A leader without a vision can never create history. Even after these many years, we can spot this approach in Bill Gates' leadership style, and it is one of the many reasons why Microsoft is as successful as it is today.

    While working with thousands of employees, Gates knew that expressing his vision clearly and intensely can motivate employees and encourage them to work with passion and clear vision. This not only benefited the employees but the company at large, by having everyone work towards a common goal.

    Care for your people

    Being a humanitarian, Bill Gates cared for his employees, its business, and the world. He founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - an organization that focuses on saving lives and improving global health to give back to society. 

    Whereas for his company, he believed that caring for your people is the best way to grow. He established the said so by acknowledging employee feedback, both negative and positive, being present for its employees, and creating a work culture that empowers, boosts engagement, and ignites passion.

    Learning is an ongoing process

    Bill Gates dropped out of school, but that didn’t stop him from learning. He believes that there is something to learn every day, and we just need to be adaptable. Even after building a huge empire, Bill Gates' leadership skills pushed him and his team members to keep on learning and advancing their skill set. This is the only way to be successful and a better version of yourself.

    Advocate innovation and creativity

    The world is changing at a fast pace, and without innovation, your business can die. To stay in the game or be the pioneer, you must keep innovating your products, the process, the approach, and other things, as it just takes one wrong action to pull you out.

    Fueled by his passion for technology, Bill Gates encouraged employees to put in efforts and develop innovative ideas that can turn into a long-run revenue generator. As a transformational leader, he is all about mixing innovation and creativity with research. It goes for both while creating software and helping the world.

    Take big risks

    What differentiates a successful leader from an average one is their willingness to take risks and adapt to changes. From dropping out of college to starting a business born out of passion from his parent’s garage, Bill Gates has been a risk-taker from day one. 

    Playing safe didn’t make Bill Gates a pioneer in the software industry. His ideology shaped the life of many people, including his employees at Microsoft. Some employees look up to him because they want to be like him, while others believe he can help them become better leaders.

    Grove HR - Bill Gates leadership style

Why does Bill Gates' leadership style work?

Gone are the days when dictating employees drove results in a company. Bill Gates' leadership style not only respects employees but also gives them room to get better. This is the approach that today’s advanced business world calls for. 

Being a transformational leader, Bill Gates brought a change in its employees' lives and the society at large. This approach helped the employees exceed their caliber and deliver performance that made Microsoft what it is today.


How to apply Bill Gates' leadership approach?

Empower your employees

A company’s success largely depends on the employees. So, the first step to having a productive workspace is to bring out the best in your team. Empower your employees to explore new things that help them understand their skill set, motivations, and abilities.

Enjoy success, but learn from failures

Each failure brings you one step closer to success. So, instead of being scared of it, embrace it and learn something from it. As Bill Gates always said, “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Develop a continuous learning attitude

94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if they invest in training. Creating a learning culture allows employees to upskill their knowledge and abilities. This helps improve their performance that benefits not only the employee but also the company. 

Bring the change you wish to see

There you have it, the best leadership skills used by Bill Gates to become who he is. So, it is not a big deal if you are just starting or have many businesses. Try the approach that suits you well. Nothing can get you more success than being your best self.

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