In his first interview to external publication after becoming CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella talks about his leadership lessons from his past leaders Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates, his management approach, One Microsoft Strategy and more. When asked about his learning from Steve Ballmer, he cited an incident with Ballmer from which he learned, ‘The lesson was that you have to stay grounded, and to be brutally honest with yourself on where you stand.”.
Q.And what about Bill Gates?
A. Bill is the most analytically rigorous person. He’s always very well prepared, and in the first five seconds of a meeting he’ll find some logical flaw in something I’ve shown him. I’ll wonder, how can it be that I pour in all this energy and still I didn’t see something? In the beginning, I used to say, “I’m really intimidated by him.” But he’s actually quite grounded. You can push back on him. He’ll argue with you vigorously for a couple of minutes, and then he’ll be the first person to say, “Oh, you’re right.” Both Bill and Steve share this. They pressure-test you. They test your conviction.
Q.Tell me about your management approach in your new role.
A. The thing I’m most focused on today is, how am I maximizing the effectiveness of the leadership team, and what am I doing to nurture it? A lot of people on the team were my peers, and I worked for some of them in the past. The framing for me is all about getting people to commit and engage in an authentic way, and for us to feel that energy as a team.
I’m not evaluating them on what they say individually. None of them would be on this team if they didn’t have some fantastic attributes. I’m only evaluating us collectively as a team. Are we able to authentically communicate, and are we able to build on each person’s capabilities to the benefit of our organization?
Read the full interview from the link below.