If you are easily inspired by stories of successful people, then you must have heard or read about Jeff Bezos.
A business mogul and media proprietor, Jeff Bezos has been recorded on Forbes’ list to be one of the wealthiest people in the world, with a net worth of more than $200 billion. He is the founder of Amazon, the top online merchant that started as an online bookstore and expanded to become a virtual store with a wide variety of e-commerce products and services, including video and audio streaming, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.
In 2000, Jeff Bezos also founded Blue Origin. Headquartered in Kent, Washington, Blue Origin is an aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company. Blue Origin launched its first space travel voyage a couple of weeks ago, with Jeff on it.
Jeff Bezos background
A glance at Jeff’s background shows him to be a creative and brilliant man who aced all that he did. Raised by his teen mom and Cuban immigrant stepfather, Jeff graduated in Physics and Computer Science from Princeton University and turned down numerous lucrative jobs before finally joining an investment bank at Wall Street. He soon became the Company’s VP, the youngest at that.
In charge of the investment possibility of the internet, Jeff Bezos was quick to note the daily rise of internet usage. This lighted his interest in the internet, and he began to paint pictures of how he could make the most of the trend. When he finally knew what to do, his boss at Wall Street tried to talk him out of it, but like every go-getter, Jeff quit his job to open an online bookstore with a garage for his office.
He moved to Seattle from New York and employed skilled programmers. Together, they went to work on developing software for the business. In June 1995, Amazon sold her first book and is currently the world’s largest online sales company by revenue and the world’s biggest provider of virtual assistants. Amazon also provides cloud infrastructure services through its Web Services branch.
Through creative and technological innovation, Amazon has risen to become one of the top five multinational organizations, and by revenue and mass scale, it is the world’s largest market. With subsidiaries in publishing and media, Amazon produces consumer electronics. Amazon currently has more than a million employees.
As a man who has built an empire, Jeff Bezos is a model to entrepreneurs, leaders and great thinkers. His life and personality have influenced many people to take action with results. He lives by principles that have, in many ways, helped him to become a stellar leader. Below are a few of his principles:
Jeff Bezos believes in trying. He once said that the decision to not try would haunt more than failing. It was why he stood his ground when his boss at Wall Street tried to convince him not to quit his job. You don’t have to be totally convinced before trying. What you need is creativity and a little faith in yourself. Jeff took these, and with his skills, he built his dream. If you don’t try it, you would not know, would you?
He was convinced that goals and visions should not be without plans. Right from his first office, the garage, he had the vision of using the internet for a grand venture. He drew plans and worked in line with it. Jeff worked towards achieving his long term goals without prioritizing the short terms. It would have been easy for him to settle at a point when he was achieving his short term goals, but because he was convinced and determined, he drove on for the long term visions.
His attitude to work showed that Jeff was consistent. Jeff was consistent with the rules he made as a leader. He was disciplined enough to follow through with his laid down plans to achieve his goals. He was consistent with the way he related with his customers – as kings. Right from the beginning of his business, Jeff placed his customers even above his employees, and after more than twenty years, Amazon remains consistent with this principle as laid down by Jeff.
Jeff’s leadership style
Jeff Bezos is a transformational and task-oriented leader. He can also be said to be a strategic and autocratic leader.
As a transformational leader, Jeff Bezos inspires and drives his employees to take responsibility for their roles and perform beyond expectations. He motivates them to think as leaders, to think outside the box and break boundaries. He taught them to be innovative instead of being told what to do, instead of assigning tasks from the go. He led by example, stepping down to do stuff that might not have been in his line of duty as Chief Executive Officer.
As a transformational leader, Jeff worked to create a new system by solving challenges. He was committed to innovating techniques. He pushed his employees to be creative.
As a task-oriented leader, Jeff goes all the way to achieve a task. With detailed planning and structures, he makes sure a particular task is carried out diligently. Task-oriented leaders would go the full length to do what must be done including employing the best work hands, working overtime, and even putting in place a punishment and reward system.
His ability to strictly prioritize long term goals over short term also proves Jeff Bezos to be a task-oriented leader. Because of his long term goals, he created tasks and plans that he made sure were thoroughly followed by the workers and himself. He stuck to these plans that might have looked rigid but were necessary and helpful in producing the result.
Jeff Bezos is a strategic leader. The ability to design systems for solving or tackling challenges makes Jeff a strategic leader. For every problem, Jeff made sure there were strategies in place.
His strategies were clear for all to see. One vital strategy he put in place that has proven to produce results is placing customers first. Jeff understands that when customers are treated like kings, they would be easily converted. This is a key strategy of Bezos.
Another vital strategy was clear communication with his employees. Every employee in Amazon understood the vision, and it is said that Jeff expected nothing less than perfection in working towards achieving the vision. Communicating with his workers ensured that he was aware of the ongoings of the organization. Jeff communicated with his workers, board members and customers. He overlooked the newsletter that went to the company’s subscribers.
Delegating tasks was also another one of Jeff’s strategic moves. With over a million employees, Jeff makes sure each employee in a different unit has a particular responsibility, and most importantly, these tasks were towards a bigger task or purpose.
An autocratic leader has the utmost power and can make decisions at will. This style of leadership is necessary when there’s a need to make quick decisions. Jeff Bezos, in his time as CEO of Amazon, displayed an autocratic leadership style. His authority and decision were not to be questioned. Despite his rigid standard, this style of leadership impacted the organizational impact of Amazon.
Jeff’s autocratic style also impacted the culture of his organization. Because he strove hard, he made sure his workers did not slack off on their duties. He introduced metrics for measuring employees’ performances. This structure created a competitive culture that has undoubtedly proven effective in maximizing employees’ potentials.
Recently, Bezos stepped down as the CEO of Amazon and took up the role of Chairman. He’s still very much in control of decisions, while Andy Jassy of AWS is made the new CEO of Amazon. This will now allow Bezos to spend more time on building Blue Origin, his space company.
Please feel free to share some of your personal experiences with leadership styles and thoughts on Jeff Bezos in the comments section below!