Leadership Qualities, Skills, and Style of Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos is the best example of a great leader in this modern era. Jeff Bezos was born on January 24, 1964. He is an American engineer, technology, retail entrepreneur, philanthropist, investor and last but not the list the founder, chairman & CEO of Amazon.com. Because of his leadership qualities, skills and styles Amazon.com has become the world’s largest online shopping retailer. Amazon.com first began its business as an internet merchant of books and later it has expanded to a wide variety of products and services. When he was a child, Jeff Bezos spent his summers by fixing windmills and repairing equipment in his grandparent’s ranch in Texas. Today Bezos credits those summers repairing with ranch equipment for his penchant for experimentation. Amazon.com went public in 1998. He sold over 1 million shares of his online company, making him $532 million richer and the 5th richest man in the world in 2015. As of 2017, Bezos is currently the third-richest person in the world having estimated net worth of US$79.3 billion. He possesses many leadership qualities, skills, and styles that made him one of the greatest & successful leaders in the world.
Some of his important qualities and skills described below:
Prioritizing Customer Service: This is one of his unique quality of his leadership. According to 2012 Forbes article, Jeff Bezos is known for his empty chair tradition. When staff meetings held, he pulls an extra chair into the conference room. that chair reminds him of a person who is a customer. This quality helps him and his team to be conscious how the customer would feel and react to their decision. According to Forbes, Amazon tracks its performance against about 500 measurable goals, and 80% of them are customer related.
Being a Little Crazy: Jeff Bezos is known for thinking outside the box, or re-shaping the box, or throwing it away altogether. He has said, “Often times invention requires a long-term willingness to be misunderstood.” According to him, crazy decisions lead to innovations which are often an element of successful leadership.
Having a Small Group or Team: Bezos’ style of leadership is creating a team of five to seven members who are assertive and provide new ideas of their own instead of a large group. He came up with the unique two-pizza rule, which is if the food served on a meeting exceeds two boxes of pizza, this means there are too many people in the team. He prefers to stick with the two-pizza rule.
Customers Should Come First: Bezos’ one of the best leadership style is to focus on the customers rather than on his competitors. He pays his attention to customer satisfaction instead of wasting his time to formulate plans to have leverage over other business. He sees customers as invited guests to a party and it is his job to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. To him, his target market comes first and he has a public email where customers can send their complaints directly to him.
Think Long Term: His another quality is to think long term. When Jeff Bezos started his Amazon.com business, he had a long term thought of making this business great in the whole world and he successfully succeeded. He made it possible because he knew the importance of the internet at that time and he knew the internet will play vital roles in human lives.
Take Risks for Market Leadership: It took Amazon three times to get its business platform off the ground. “Given a 10 percent chance of a 100-times payout, you should take that bet every time,” Bezos wrote in his very first annual letter (1997). He also stated that “Failure and invention are inseparable twins. To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.” From his bold decisions it is clear that even if they don’t work out, you’ll learn something for the next time.
Make Employees Think like Owners: His other leadership skill is he can make employees think themselves like owners. When Bezos wrote this in the first Amazon annual letter, Bezos had 614 employees. Now it has 230,000 employees. Bezos wrote in the 1997 letter, “We know our success will be largely affected by our ability to attract and retain a motivated employee base, each of whom must think like, and therefore must actually be, an owner.”
Three Big Ideas: Bezos another great quality of leadership personality is to stick up with three big ideas at Amazon. The first idea is to put the customers first, then the second idea is to invent and the third idea is to be patient. He is stuck with these ideas for almost 18 years.
His other leadership qualities and skills are:
- Have Perseverance And Resilience
- Always do Experiment
- Become An Inventor
- Give Customers An Option
- Know Your Passion And Wait For The Right Time
- Take on New & Unique Experiences
- Focus on Process, not Failure
- Build a culture that’s right for your company
- Base your strategy on things that won’t change
- Determine what your customers need, and work backward
Leadership Style of Jeff Bezos
If we look at his leadership styles we will see his leadership styles are unconventional and unique. His style of leadership includes Autocratic Leadership as he monitors everything on his own. He also possesses Strategic Leadership by which he delivers special and unique strategies that make his organization successful. Team leadership style also being possessed by Jeff Bezos. With the help of this style, he can set the future of his business and sets the direction and purpose as well. Since he has lots of employees to work, he also possesses Cross-Cultural Leadership style. He also possesses both Charismatic and Visionary leadership styles.
So it is clear that Jeff Bezos has carved a name for himself as a business leader by creating sustained growth in his organization. At the end of the day, Jeff Bezos will be remembered most for his visionary and innovative leadership style. Bezos showed how leadership plays a vital role in creating healthy and sustainable organization. “The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works” – Jeff quoted.
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Author: Sadnan Bin Sattar
Sadnan is one of the top contributors of Gotabout Business Strategy and Analysis. He is an undergrad student of North South University; major is Finance and Accounting. He has a strong interest in strategy development.