Oprah Winfred and Bill Gates Leadership Personal Essay

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The understanding of leadership in the past several decades had undergone a revolution in how leadership is defined and their attitudes towards it.

They had gone from a very classical autocratic approach to a very creative, participative approach. There isn’t any right or wrong approach in Leadership and educational background itself is not a key factor. Different styles were needed for different situations and each leader needed to know when to exhibit a particular approach. The leaders who make the right decision at the right time will succeed in this arena. Determining the qualities and characteristics of effective leaders can be difficult to grasp definitively.

Bill Gates believes that if you are intelligent and know how to apply your intelligence, you can achieve anything. From childhood, Bill Gates was ambitious, intelligent and competitive. These qualities helped him to attain a top position in the profession he chooses. Bill Gates began to show an interest in computer programming at the age of 13 at the Lakeside School. At the age of 15, Bill Gates went into business with Paul Allen and started their new company “Tara-o-Data”. They developed a small computer program to monitor the traffic patterns in Seattle ND earned $20,000 from this project.

In 1973, he left home for Harvard University. He did well over there, but he couldn’t find it interesting and within a year, Bill Gates dropped out from Harvard and formed Microsoft. Striking out on his own with his school friend UCM business partner Paul Allen, Bill Gates found himself at the right place at the right time. Microsoft’s vision is “A computer on every desk and Microsoft software on every computer”. Bill Gates worked very hard to achieve his vision. His belief in high intelligence and hard work has put him where he is today.

He does not believe in mere luck or God’s grace, but just artwork and competitiveness. Bill Gates’ Microsoft is a good competition for other software companies and he will continue to stomp out the competition until he dies. He likes to play the game of risk and the game of world domination. His beliefs are so powerful that has helped him increase his wealth and his monopoly in the industry (Bill Gates, 1995). 5. 2. Opera Winfred. Finding someone who hasn’t heard about Opera Winfred would be a near-impossible task in the United States.

Aside from hosting her own television talk show, she is an actress, owns a production company and graces the cover of “O” – The Opera Magazine. Opera Winfred is the embodiment of American spirit and entrepreneurial success; hers is a rags-to-riches story comes to life. Born in Mississippi on January 29th, 1954, Opera lived on her grandmother’s farm until the age of six and then moved to Milwaukee to live with her mother. After being sexually abused by her relatives and friends of her mother, she moved to Nashville and lived with her father.

She completed her studies in Tennessee State University and began working in radio and television broadcasting in Nashville. Later, she moved to Baltimore and hosted the TV chat show, People Are Talking. The show became a hit and she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show – A. M Chicago. Within several months, Opera had taken her show from last to first place in the ratings. Her popularity made Steven Spielberg cast her in his movie, The Color Purple, in which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 1986, Opera started the Opera Winfred Show with its placement on 120 channels and an audience of 10 million people. She soon gained ownership of the program from BBC, drawing it under the control of her new production company, Harp Productions and making a curative amount from syndication. Opera’s contribution can be felt beyond the world of television and into areas as publishing, music, film, philanthropy, education, health and fitness as well as social awareness. Her accomplishments as a global media leader and philanthropist have established her as one of the most respected and admired public figures today (BMW. Geography. Com).

When approaching the study of the leadership of these 2 prominent figures, it seemed necessary to discuss some of the leadership theories that have helped o classify and categorize the approach of these two personalities’ leadership styles. There are several different leadership theories on how leadership styles are determined. Early leadership theories focused on the qualities distinguished between leaders and followers, while subsequent theories looked at other variables such as situational factors and skill levels.

While many different leadership theories have emerged, the writer will attempt to discuss three theories that bear relevance to this paper which are as follows:- 6. 3. Traits Theories Jackson (1953), Rosen (1969) and Barrow (1977) have described that the Trait approach is the general approach to compare leaders with non-leaders with distinctive internal qualities or characteristics of an individual, such as physical characteristics, personalities, skills and abilities, and social factors (interpersonal skills, sociability).

In other words, underlying this approach was the assumption that some people are natural leaders who are endowed with certain traits not possessed by other people (Yuk, 1998). However, if particular traits are key features of leadership, how do we explain people who possess those qualities but are not leaders? Ralph Stodgily (1948) pointed out that leadership situations vary from one another and disagreed with this theory due to its unreliability. He gave an example comparing the desirable traits between military officers with senior scientists in which require a different leadership approach.

Besides that, the traits reported by all other researchers also often contradictory and no single trait was consistently identified with good leadership. 6. 4. Leadership Styles While the Traits approach took into account the personality of the leaders, the Leadership Style approach focuses its attention on the Leader’s Behavior. Leadership style is the way in which the functions of leadership are carried out and the way in which the manager typically behaves towards members of the group.

In order to get the best results from the followers, the leader must also have regard for the need to encourage high morale, a spirit of involvement and cooperation, and a willingness to work. There are a number of different styles to leadership and management that are based on different assumptions and theories. The following are the three classical leadership styles:

  • The Autocratic Styles – The leaders expect their subordinates to carry out orders similar to a chain-of-command environment. The subordinates are not expected to make decisions, so they bear little responsibility for what they are doing.
  • Democratic Styles – Leaders practicing this style encourage their subordinates to participate in decision-making and accept responsibility for their performances. The subordinates have a greater say in decision-making, determination of policy, implementation of systems and procedures.
  • Laissez-fairer Styles – The style is largely a “hands off’ view that tends to minimize the amount of direction and face time required. Leaders consciously make the decision to pass the power to members and allow them freedom of action and not to interfere, but is readily available if help is needed.

In the year 2000, Coleman contends that what leaders should do is get results, and published the following basic leadership styles in Harvard Business Review articles Coercive – demands immediate compliance.

  • Authoritative – mobile people towards a vision.
  • Affiliation – creates harmony and builds emotional bonds.
  • Democratic – forges consensus through participation.
  • Pace-setting – set a high standard for performance.
  • Coaching – develops people for the future.

Coleman mentioned that those who mastered the tallest four or more styles create the best climate and performance in an organization.

He identifies Authoritative, Democratic, Affiliation and Coaching as the four styles in combination as most able to influence organization climate and performance positively. The most effective leaders switch flexibly among styles as needed (Coleman, 2000). 6. 5. Transactional versus Transformational Theories. Transactional leaders are highly focused on the task, thus, they will define and communicate the work that must be done by the followers clearly and reward them once successfully completed the task and achieve the objectives.

Transactional leaders are less interested in inspiring followers than ensuring their organization operates effectively and efficiently. Transformational leaders focused on the connections formed between leaders and followers. It grows out of the assumption that people will follow a leader who inspires and motivates them. They also spend a great deal of time building trust and demonstrating a high level of personal integrity. The ultimate goal of Transformational leadership is to transform the followers’ goals, Sino and sense of purpose, molding them into a cohesive team.

This style of leadership often focuses on the big picture and on concern for people and their individual needs. Both Transactional and Transformational leaders can exhibit all the leadership styles identified in the well-known leadership theories. However, transformational leaders can inspire followers to transcend their own self-interest for the benefit of the Organization. Northwest (2001) states that in 39 studies of transformational literature, individuals who exhibited Transformational leadership were more effective leaders and result in better irk outcomes.

Therefore, it can be very beneficial for the top management to apply transformational leadership in the workplace.

Leadership Qualities of Bill Gates.

There is no doubt that Bill Gates emulates various leadership qualities that makes him to be one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. He is able to run a successful and profitable organization for many years and even today, we cannot live in this competitive world without his invention.

The followings are some of the qualities observed in Bill Gates.

Visionary: Bill Gates is a very visionary person and works very hard to achieve his vision. Bill Gates dreamed of having a computer on every desk and Microsoft software on every computer. Focusing on software as the means to popularize the computers, Bill Gates built his empire around this central vision and steered clear of all other distractions. Vision remains an important part of Bill Gates’ career, which is in no way nearing an end.

Reflecting on Microsoft’s achievements of the past thirty years, Bill Gates says, Whitish is just the beginning’, predicting a future where computers will be much more involved in educating people, socializing people, enabling people to become politically active and engaged and even changing the way markets are organized, Gates sees his vision for Microsoft playing an even more important role.

Intelligence and Committed to Life Long

Learning: Since childhood, Bill Gates believes that if you are intelligent and know how to apply your intelligence, you can achieve anything.

His intelligence and commitment to lifelong learning had helped him to attain a top position in the profession he chooses. Bill Gates’ intelligence allowed him to be able to see all sides of the software industry product development ND corporate strategy. Using his intelligence, Bill Gates wrote his first program for “Tic-Tact-Toe” at the age of 13 and at 15, he started a new company “Taft-o- Data” and earn $20,000 from his first project. Through his commitment to lifelong learning and intelligence, Bill Gates made the right decision at the right time in which made him very successful in his life.

Risk Taker: “Big Wins Require Big Risk” quoted Bill Gates in his “Business @ The Speed of Thought” book. Bill Gates believes that to be a market leader, declining to take risks early will decline the market later, thus, he took the risk in order to have an Eng-term future. There are many examples to demonstrate Bill Gates’s risk-taking qualities which begins from his junior years when he decided to drop out of Harvard and devoted his energies full time to founding Microsoft Corporation which most people scoffed at.

The success of Microsoft comes with a series of big bets, everything from the initial foray into operating systems to the Internet and Web services. Each of these steps represented significant and large risk-taking by a corporation that was making bets on a future vision, and that vision being driven by Bill Gates.

Innovation. Bill Gates deserved to be recognized as a great American innovator for transforming the disorganized PC tribes of the late asses into a huge industry that we are relying on today.

He was among the first to recognize that all sorts of companies and products would be created if a computer’s operating system and all the other software programs were separated from the hardware. The insight liberated innovation and for that innovation, Bill Gates was listed in the “Greatest Innovators of the last 75 years” by Bloomberg Business Week Magazine in November 2004.

Perseverance: Bill Gates had to overcome various challenges in his path to greatness. Along the path, he had to overcome others who were determined to stop him from achieving his success.

Bill Gates has demonstrated over thirty years the importance of clarity of thought and execution. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he did not move away from the domain he understood better than anything else – software.

Leadership Qualities of Opera Winfred

One of the core leadership qualities is the ability to influence others by gaining the trust and support of the followers and Opera Winfred has been able to do that effectively. It is through her leadership qualities; Opera has been able to maintain the standard of her show and live up to the expectation of her viewers.

In the following points, we will review her leadership qualities in detail.

Emotional Intelligence. The name Opera becomes very famous because of her Emotional Intelligence. She is very down-to-earth and readily exposes concerns and curiosities along with her guests. She projects herself as a personable person you can feel at ease with. Her audience, mainly middle-aged women, can relate to her in some way or another. Although her show is considered testimonial at times, she is careful not o become preachy. She listens intently and uses small words.

She talks about her failures in life and explores sensitive areas like forgiveness and suffering. Her hugging and crying convinced the audience that she is real and identifies with what is going on with her guests

Determination. As quoted in the Time Magazine (April 2006), “a young girl from Mississippi who grew up without electricity or running water realized her promise through education and achieved her dreams in liberty”, Opera Winfred overcomes all her obstacles in her early age and become the most prominent figure in the United States.

Opera Winfred revolutionized the talk show market with her unique and natural style and rose to become the host of the most-watched daytime show on television. She is the first African American to own her own TV studio. The multivalent Winfred is also a millionaire businesswoman, a talented actress, owner of a movie production company, and committed philanthropist.

Communication. Opera engages the human heart, mind and spirit of the audience through her effective communication skills.

During her show, she is able to make her guests feel comfortable when interviewing them with non-traditional questions that re not necessarily related to the main issue. Using her effective communication skills, she can convince others and leave an impact and create a connection with the masses. For instance, during the time of Hurricane Strain, she made an appeal to everyone to openly donate and everybody did.

Influential. Throughout her life, Opera has focused on influencing and touching people’s lives.

Opera has millions of fans throughout the world and when she makes a statement it is heard loud and clear, in other words, what Opera says, goes. She also has a clear track record of turning unknown authors into best-sellers when he mentions their books on her program. She was called “arguably the World’s most powerful woman” by Time. Com, “arguably the most influential woman in the World” by the American Spectator. She is the only person in the world who appeared five times on the Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Perseverance. Opera Winfred went through many tough times throughout her life and use her personal tragedy as a means of success and came out positively. From poverty and abuse, she has become one of the wealthiest and most influential people of all time. Opera relates her experiences to her audience as a source of her personal strength. As such, Opera is a picture of perseverance and proves that we really can overcome any adversity. 7. 8. Comparison of Leadership Qualities between Bill Gates and Opera Winfred. When comparing the leadership qualities of these 2 personalities, there are similarities and differences observed.

Opera Winfred on the other hand utilized her emotional intelligence in attracting millions of her audience and becomes one of the most influential people in the United States. Bill Gates is well known for his vision ND commitment to lifelong learning while Opera increased her influence and communication skill through her lifelong experiences. Being a leader in the emerging modern industry, risk-taking is one of the leadership expectations and its success will determine the leader’s leadership quality. Bill Gates successfully demonstrated this quality in most of his leadership decision.

Infant, he had quoted that his risk-taking attitude leads to his success. Opera is also a risk-taker as she took a risk by moving from Baltimore to Chicago to pursue her career. However, from a leadership perspective, it was not as huge as Bill Gates. While looking at the similarities, Bill Gates and Opera practice higher levels of perseverance and determination. Opera is one great example of a person who has succeeded to rise from poverty and overcome terrible experiences in her past because of her determination and perseverance.

Bill Gates on the other hand is very determined in what he wants to achieve since his early age and through his determination and perseverance, he accomplished his success. In summary, intelligence, determination and perseverance are some of the key leadership qualities a leader should emulate to be successful in leadership.

Reasoned opinion of leadership style: Bill Gates and Opera Winfred

Of the three leadership styles, Opera Winfred exhibits all these styles in different situations as needed. She exhibits Autocratic styles in the business, Democratic with her guest and laissez-fairer with her audience.

An autocratic leadership style is when the leader tries to control the direction and outcome of a discussion, which she exhibits in her production company Harp. A laissez-fairer style is when the leader lets the group take charge of all decisions and actions. In one of her shows, Opera gave $1000 to each of her audience with the stipulation that they use it for a random act of kindness (source). In that instance, she exhibited a laissez-fairer style in letting the audience make their own decisions on how to use that money.

Similar to Opera, the Leadership style of Bill Gates is a mix of Autocratic and Democratic initially, and later he exhibits Laissez-fairer styles by delegating some of the tasks to his key employees. Bill Gates’ Autocratic leadership styles were very obvious as he frequently joined his researchers and made teams and groups out of them for more product launches. However, he is careful in his judgments and control. At the same time, he was famous for his democratic leadership styles at Microsoft by actively involving employees in key management and strategic decisions.

Many studies have shown that the more leadership styles a leader exhibits the better and the most effective leaders switch flexibly among styles as needed. From this analysis, it is proven that Bill Gates and Opera emulate more than one leadership style and know when and how to apply the respective leadership styles effectively. This leads to their successful leadership path.

Bill Gates and Opera Winfred: Transformational or Transactional

Observing Bill Gates styles, he is a visionary person and work hard towards achieving his dream.

He is very task oriented and competitive in accomplishing his task. These qualities lead to the branding of Bill Gates as a Transactional leader. Though Bill Gates is a transactional leader, at the later stage, he demonstrated transformational leadership skills by motivating and encouraging his employees towards achieving the goal. He knows that the harder people work for him, the more his company grows and wins the market place. Thus, he blends both leadership styles in capturing the success that he desired.

On the other hand, Opera’s leadership style has resulted in a booming film and production unit, a successful radio channel and a new cable television network. In 1994, President Clinton signed a bill into law that Opera had proposed to Congress, creating a nationwide database of convicted child abusers. In 2007, Opera campaigned for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama and attracted the largest crowds of the primary season to that point. She also has a clear track record of turning unknown authors into blockbuster best-sellers when she mentions their books on her program (biography. Com).

In an interview with Black Enterprise, Opera said ‘Treating people with respect is the most important thing to me. It does not just talk’. Through these examples, it is very obvious that Opera Winfred is a Transformational leader. 9. CONCLUSION. It is evident from the above that successful leadership requires certain behavior, skills and abilities. The leaders discussed here have all to certain degrees displayed the ability to embrace change, to be agile, to adjust to new situations and seize opportunities. They have a vision for their organizations and were able to take decisive action to move toward that vision.


Cite this paper

Oprah Winfred and Bill Gates Leadership Personal Essay. (2021, Apr 13). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/oprah-winfred-and-bill-gates-leadership/



How did Bill Gates show leadership?
Bill Gates showed leadership by co-founding Microsoft and leading it to become one of the most successful technology companies in the world. He also established the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has made significant contributions to global health and education initiatives.
What leadership style does Oprah Winfrey use?
The leadership style that Oprah Winfrey uses is a transformational style. This means that she is able to motivate and inspire others to achieve their goals. She is also able to create a vision and help others to see the potential in themselves.
What leadership style is Bill Gates?
Bill Gates is a leader who is able to take charge and make decisions when needed, but is also willing to delegate authority and responsibility to others when appropriate. He is a leader who is able to see the big picture and make decisions that are in the best interests of the company as a whole.
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