Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and served as its Chief Executive Officer form the time the original partnership was incorporated in 1981 until January 2000. Then he resigned as Chief Executive Officer and took on the position of Chief Software Architect. Mr. Gates has served as Chairman of the Board since the company’s incorporation. Bill Gates is recognized as the youngest self-made billionaire in history. His windows operating system, runs the vast majority of personal computers throughout the United States. It is obvious that it takes a certain type of person to successfully create and maintain such a profitable organization. However, when closely examined, Gates’ leadership characteristics are somewhat surprising. The way in which he directs his corporation is unique, and yet, still extremely prosperous. For a man to dropout of a prestigious university such as Harvard in chase of his dream, one must be devout in his pursuit.
Gates has always believed in his goal and has never stopped striving for perfection. This sort of aim for fulfillment has a tendency to rub-off on others closely tied to Gates. In fact, others have cited this charismatic leadership as a major key to Microsoft’s success. Microsoft’s success depends on dedicated workers who have enormous faith in a charismatic leader, claims Scott Winkler, an analyst at Gartner Group: ‘Bill tells them to do something and they do it. They believe in him. He’s never let them down in the past. The corporate culture is that Bill’s always right.’ Gates recognizes the need to have others, as well as he, focus on the group’s vision and he realizes that it is the leader’s responsibility to inspire his subordinates by leading by example. Charismatic leaders understand that they alone cannot make the vision a reality; they need their followers’ help and support to create organizational or societal changes. Gates definitely sought the support and wisdom of others when in the process of building the company. He worked hands on with his fellow employees, identifying and correcting problems with software and continually setting and reaching long-term goals.
The primary influence process is personal identification, which is influence derived from a follower’s desire to please and imitate the leader. Charismatic leaders appear so extraordinary, due to their strategic insight, strong convictions, self-confidence, unconventional behavior and dynamic energy, that the subordinates idolize these leaders and want to become like them. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is within the Microsoft camp were the so-called Bill Clones, extremely brilliant, young, and recent college graduates, who were hired as managers. So strong was the admiration of Gates that these young men began to emulate their leader in almost every way. Jeff Raikes soon had the patented Gates mannerisms down pat. Raikes was quickly named Clone Number One in Microsoft circles. A Stanford MBA, Raikes had migrated...