Surveying the Various Forms of Leadership Theories Essay

William ( Bill ) Henry Gates III was born in Seattle – USA, in 1955. His male parent was a successful lawyer and his female parent was a instructor. His two sisters and him were encouraged to be competitory and strive for excellence since immature.

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At age 13, Gates discovered his involvement in package and began programming computing machines at the private Lakeside School ( Microsoft 2010 ).

In 1973, Gates enrolled at Harvard University but dropped out half-way as he wanted to give all his energies on his start-up package concern with his friend and concern spouse, Paul Allen. His company “ Microsoft ”, the universe ‘s first personal computer package company, was born in 1975.

In 1980, Gates was offered an understanding to supply the operating system ( MS-DOS ) for IBM ‘s new Personal computer. He secured his hereafter by take a firm standing that Microsoft retained the right of first publication to the system, so that he could besides licence it to other hardware makers. This contractual masterstroke helped impel Microsoft into its place as the state ‘s largest package company ( Davidson 2009 ).

In 2002, Gates topped the Forbes 400 list of the universe ‘s wealthiest persons, with a personal luck of $ 43 billion ( Krames 2003 ).

Gates handed the reins and the rubric of CEO over to Steve Ballmer in 2000, as Gates became Chairman and acted as Chief Software Architect to assist in developing next-generation merchandises ( Krames, 2003 ).

Since 2006, Ray Ozzie has assumed Gates ‘ old rubric as Chief Software Architect as Gates wanted to give an increasing proportion of his clip to the philanthropic “ The Bill & A ; Melinda Gates Foundation ” ( Microsoft 2010 ). However, Gates continues to function as Microsoft ‘s Chairman and an adviser on cardinal development undertakings after July 2008 ( Microsoft 2010 ).

2.2 Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Gail Winfrey was born bastard in Mississippi – USA, in 1954. She began talking in forepart of audiences since she was merely 4 old ages old, touring local churches and declaiming others ‘ discourses by memory ( O’Neil 2004 ).

From age 6 to 13, she stayed with her female parent in Milwaukee but suffered repeated maltreatment and molestation by her relations. Oprah was later sent to populate with her male parent, Vernon Winfrey, in Nashville, who helped to turn her life around.

He taught her that she ever had to prosecute excellence in order to win. Oprah absorbed that attitude and said, “ There ‘s no such thing as failure in my life, I merely do n’t believe in it ” ( O’Neil 2004, p.13 ).

Oprah ‘s airing calling began at age 17, when she was hired by WVOL wireless in Nashville, and two old ages subsequently signed on with WTVF-TV as a newsman. She besides attended Tennessee State University and received her Bachelor Honours Degree in Speech Communications and Performing Arts.

Oprah moved up rapidly and in 1978 discovered her endowment for hosting talk shows when she became co-host of WJZ-TV ‘s “ Peoples are speaking ”. In 1986, she began airing nationally, via “ The Oprah Winfrey Show ”, which became the highest rated talk show in telecasting history.

In 2003, Oprah became the first Afro-american adult female to fall in the ranks of billionaires, as published by Forbes magazine for that twelvemonth ( O’Neil 2004 ).

From 2004-2009, she was the lone adult female to hold been included in all six of TIME ‘s 100 Most Influential Peoples in World lists.

Oprah is now the host and proprietor of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the laminitis of the Harpo Productions, Inc. which produces her telecasting shows and films, the proprietor of “ O, The Oprah Magazine ” and forthcoming overseas telegram channel called “ OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network ” ( New York Times 2010 ) and a generous altruist.

3. Theories on Leadership – Critical Literature Survey

Leadership definition and list of leading theories

Leadership is defined ( Cited by Daft 2008, p.4 ) as follows:

“ Leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and followings who intend existent alterations and results that reflect their shared intents. ”

The development of leading theories started from “ Great Man ” and “ Trait ” theories, which assumed that leaders are born, to the present “ Transformational ” leading, in that leaders can be trained.

Trait Theory

Arose from “ Great Man ” theory which assumed that people are born with familial traits. The traits and accomplishments which are identified by Stogdill ( 1974 ) as vital to leaders can be found in Appendix 1.

Situational or Contingency Theory

Leadership manner adopted is contingent upon situational factors such as the features of the followings, the work environment and followings ‘ undertakings, and the external environment ( Daft 2008 ).

John Adair, a celebrated leading theoretician, devised Action-Centred Leadership theoretical account in a three overlapping and inter-dependent circle diagram, which focuses merely on the actions the leader demand to take in three countries of demands: Undertaking, Team and Individual, as the state of affairs varies, as below:

Figure 3.1 Beginning: Adapted from “ Effective Leadership ” by John Adair, Pan ( 1998 )

Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic Leadership is based on leader ‘s personal features as a beginning of power to emotionally impact people by appealing to both the bosom and head ( Daft 2008 ). These leaders create an ambiance of alteration, articulate an idealised vision of the hereafter, inspire and motivate followings with an staying religion.

Team Leadership

Daft ( 2008 ) believes that squad leading is based on three rules: First, squad leaders must make a graphic vision that is disputing and animating so that it provides a strong sense of intent and way. Second, squad leaders must be willing to acknowledge their ignorance or errors and the 3rd rule is to supply support and coaching to team members.

Transformational Theory

Transformational leading is characterized by the ability to convey about important alteration in followings and the organisation, by holding a powerful vision, developing followings into leaders, promoting the concerns of followings from lower-level physical demands to higher-level psychological demands and bring forthing a motivation spirit that keeps followings making more than originally expected ( Daft 2008 ).

Avolio, Bass and Jung ( Cited by Bass, 2006 ) have identified the four constituents of transformational leading as: Idealized Influence, Inspirational Motivation, Intellectual Stimulation and Individualised Consideration.

John P. Kotter ( 1995 ), in his written article on “ Leading Change: Why Transformation Attempts Fail ”, discussed the 8 indispensable stairss to transform organisation successfully as listed in Appendix 2.

3.7 X ( Female ) & A ; Y ( Male ) of Leadership

Liz Cook and Brian Rothwell ( 2000 ) convincingly describe the differences ( structural, operational and chemical ) in the encephalon of male and female, which attribute to their different thought and move even when faced with similar leading state of affairss. Their reading ( Cook & A ; Rothwell, 2000 ) is that the natural and familial gifts that the mean female and male encephalon brings to leading are as follows:



Relationship orientation




Appreciation of paradox

Interpersonal connexions

Social consciousness

Group working


Appreciation of differentiation

Action orientation





Target orientation

Status quo challenge

Desire to be the best


Structure and signifier

Table 3.1 Average Female and Male familial gifts

Much of the argument in the 1990s exhausted clip carrying leaders that it was good to be female and it was work forces who needed to alter their leading manner to feminine-oriented leading, with the accent on edifice relationship. Nevertheless, Cook & A ; Rothwell ( 2000 ) believed that leading preparation should encompass the strengths of both attacks as the strengths of both sexes are needed to antagonize the failings that each sex brings to the leading equation.

4. Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey Leadership Qualities

4.1 Gates Leadership Qualities

Drive and Passion are shown when Microsoft foremost started as Gates passionately loves and enjoys package programming ( Academy of Achievement 2010 ).

Visionary as Gate possesses great foresight on the future technological tendency. He was able to visualise the significance of his package ‘s part to his early mission statement “ A computing machine on every desk and in every place ” ( Academy of Achievement 2010 ).

Doggedness is one of his entrepreneurial liquors where he has to work long hours, run into several obstructions and failures but at the same clip must persist and possess the “ ne’er say dice ” attitude to win.

Assurance in himself and his capableness by dropping out of Harvard and concentrate on package development concern at Microsoft.

Aggressive and Competitive is decidedly one of Gate ‘s traits. The fact that Microsoft dominated about the whole market and becomes monopoly in supplying runing systems for Personal computer clearly proves it. Furthermore, he ever has to look over his shoulder on where the competition was so as to stay figure one place in this ferocious and competitory concern environment ( Davidson 2009 ).

Innovative & A ; Creative as he recognised menace and improved MS-DOS to Windows runing systems, created Microsoft Office, which drives WordPerfect/Lotus 123/Symphony out of concern, and innovated legion package to run into the altering demands and demands of the concern.

Charismatic as it is believed that his followings admire him, portion his vision and lament to emulate him by lending towards package development to assist mankind.

Oprah Leadership Qualities

Owing to her first-class public speech production accomplishments, Oprah pursued her Passion in media, as Television host, actress and manufacturer. She decidedly possesses the following traits which are critical to her success:

Fluent in speech production as Oprah is surely an first-class communicator as vividly shown in her Television talk show and besides as seen by her path record of turning unknown writers into top of the best seller lists when she launched her “ Oprah Book ‘s Club ” in her talk show ( Academy of Achievement 2009 ).

Doggedness as she is really determined, refused to give up, wanted to alter her life and ever strives to stand out in whatever she does ( Academy of Achievement 2009 ).

Assurance can be seen from the manner she presented herself in talk show and throughout her calling.

Advanced in media industry as she non merely brings herself to fame from being Television host of her ain talk show but besides able to make her ain Harpo Productions, ain ‘O ‘ Magazine, book nine and upcoming OWN ( Oprah Winfrey Network ), which will get down its introduction in 2011.

Charismatic as her influential address non merely emotionally impacts her followings but besides the big Television audiences.

Honesty & A ; Integrity as she feels that the most of import features for holding a fulfilling life is the ability to be seek truth and be true to yourself ( Academy of Achievement 2009 ).

Instinctive as based on David LaGesse ( US News & A ; World Report, 2005 ), Oprah has “ built her calling on inherent aptitude ” and she besides admitted during her interview, “ Women that I ‘ve known who run their concerns do it a batch more from the bosom, intestine, inherent aptitude, which are all the same. ”

5. Comparison of Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey Leadership Qualities and with Leadership Theories/Models

5.1 Comparison of Gates and Oprah Leadership Qualities

Below table summarises their cardinal similarities and differences:

Gates Leadership Qualities

Oprah Leadership Qualities




Desire to be the best





Action orientation




Target Orientation

Status quo challenge


Learned behavior

Relationship orientation




Interpersonal Connection

Social consciousness


Natural behavior

Table 5.1 Similarities and Differences in Gates and Oprah leading qualities

Both Gates and Winfrey possess the necessary traits and accomplishments which are of import to leading and to their success.

As described earlier, there are similarities but besides differences in their qualities. The major differences coincidently seem to account from their masculine and feminine differences ( as compared between Table 3.1 and Table 5.1 ).

Gates ‘ leading manner, as described by Andrew Davidson ( 2009 ), is “ confrontational, direct and scratchy ” and he is renowned for his demanding attack whereas Oprah ‘s manner is less confrontational but alternatively more collaborative and concerned with relationship edifice as she built her calling on the “ advocate of friends, including poet Maya Angelou, musician Quincy Jones, and histrions Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier ” ( LaGesse, 2005 ).

Gates ‘ action, target-oriented and competitory manner contrast with Oprah ‘s relationship, inter-personal connexion and duologue manner. Davidson ( 2009 ) believed Microsoft ‘s package dominant place is chiefly due to Gates ‘ aggressiveness and competitory nature whereas New York Times media editorialist, David Carr ( 2009 ) reported Oprah ‘s non-competitive nature as she ne’er thought of herself as a businesswoman, she besides did non over-merchandise nor take her company populace and choosing to travel out as a talk show host while her plan was still on top. The determinations she made are normally based on gut intuition ( followed her bosom ) and most of import of all, she listened to her audience ( Carr 2009 ), whereas Gates focused more on the undertakings and actions to continuously progress and better package engineering ( Microsoft News Centre, 2010 ).

5.2 Comparison of Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey Leadership Qualities with leading theories

Gates ( Adair ‘s Action-Centred Leadership Model )

It is strongly believed that Gates follows Adair ‘s Action-Centred Leadership Model in Microsoft where he focuses on accomplishing undertakings ( developing package to run into clients ‘ needs/deadlines ), constructing a strong squad ( using talented followings ) and developing his employees ( eg. appointed Steve Ballmer as current CEO and transitioned Ray Ozzie as current Chief Software Architect ).

5.2.2 Gates ( Transformational Leadership )

Gates besides fulfils the Transformational Leadership demands which were described by Daft ( 2008 ), Bass ( 2006 ) and Kotter ( 1995 ), by conveying about important alteration in followings and Microsoft.

Gates had great foresight on the hereafter engineering tendency and was the drivers of engineering invention. He was able to develop schemes and pass on the vision efficaciously to his followings so that all employees can lend to the cognition base of the endeavor.

Harmonizing to Joel Kurtzman ( 2004 ), the success of Microsoft has been built on the company ‘s ability to pull the brightest and the best people in its industry. Gates ‘ engagement in the enlisting procedure extends beyond the choice of his closest Plutos. In 1981, Gates was instrumental in engaging Charles Simonyi – the “ male parent of Microsoft Word ”, from Xerox PARC ( Kurtzman, 2004 ). He non merely hired gifted people but besides helped developing, actuating and authorising employees who can implement the vision ( Steve Ballmer, his former subsidiary and now Microsoft CEO, is a really good illustration ).

Gates strongly believes in tackling the mind of every employee and said, “ Smart people everyplace in the company should hold the power to drive an enterprise. ” ( Cited by Krames 2003, p.153 ). Hence, he adopts a civilization that encourages the full work force non merely to believe, but besides to portion their ideas with colleagues and directors up and down the company hierarchy ( Krames 2003 ).

Microsoft employees regard and trust Gates and are energized by the psychic wagess they get from working on intellectually exciting and disputing technological invention and they feel proud to be in such an organisation.

Therefore, they are able to work together to transform themselves and Microsoft into such a dominant and powerful package company today.

Oprah ( Charismatic Leadership )

Oprah, on the other manus, is more of a magnetic leader. O’Neil ( 2004 ) summed up her two cardinal facets of her attack to life and concern as “ committed to high quality ” and “ listened to her inherent aptitudes ”.

Staying positive, exposing great assurance and doggedness and first-class communicating accomplishments have besides helped her climbed to the top and good liked by the populace.

Harmonizing to analysts, Oprah was non in the ‘business of concern ‘, she was in the ‘business of comforting psyches ‘ ( Businessweek 2002 ). The sort of familiarity Oprah enjoyed with her audiences was something that reportedly no other talk show host had of all time achieved.

Oprah is surely really magnetic as she managed to emotionally act upon and touch many people ‘s Black Marias and head through her personal features and in what she has done and non done ( Carr 2009 ). Academy of Achievement ( 2005 ) mentioned that her empathy, honestness and love of people have made her one of the most darling adult females in America.

5.2.4 Oprah ( Team Leadership )

Oprah adopts Team Leadership manner. Her vision is simple but graphic, as when she set up a foundation, she merely wants to assist unprivileged people get back on their pess and as when she founded Harpo Productions, she wants to bring forth her ain telecasting shows and films, non so much about herself but more on to do a difference in people ‘s lives and to act upon them to alter for the better. She said, “ I want to be able to make work that encourages, enlightens, upheavals and entertains people. ” ( Academy of Achievement 2009 ).

Per O’Neil ( 2004 ), Oprah understands her strengths and failings and when she hires people, she looks for people who can make what she can non. She feels that she can larn something from the people who are smarter than her.

Oprah is besides non afraid to acknowledge her ignorance and errors. She admits right upfront that she is uninformed and wants to larn about the subject ( O’Neil 2004 ). She trusts her squad and empowers people to do determinations and when determination is incorrect, she accepts full duty as evident from the manner she admitted her errors when her Academy ‘s employee was accused of indecorous assault of six adolescents in the school ( New York Times 2009 ).

It is believed that she will supply support and coaching to team members whenever she can, as she cares and has great empathy and love for the people, including her employees.

6. Writer ‘s sentiments about Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey Leadership Styles

Gates and Oprah are both extremely successful leader despite differences in their backgrounds, gender and working environment. Certain traits and accomplishments are of import in order to win in their several industry.

Gate ‘s aggressiveness, airy and transformational leading manners are indispensable if Microsoft wants to keep its dominant and figure one place in supplying package in the universe. Even though Gates had transferred these duties to Steve Ballmer, the leading bequest still remains integral and strong.

It is believed that Gates ‘ leading manner alterations as Microsoft grows from a little to a transnational company. Initially, Gates tends to be more task-oriented and Davidson ( 2009 ) claimed that he reviewed every piece of codification the company produced. It is felt that Gates bit by bit realised that he would necessitate to swear and authorise his employees to make this occupation. He decidedly attended several leading classs or read such leading books and being a fast-learner and ever looking for betterment, he understood the importance of striking a balance between undertaking and people-oriented behavior and hence would set his manner consequently. He wanted to acquire things done but at the same clip he ne’er stopped in animating and actuating his gifted employees towards their shared vision, by instilling the civilization and values within Microsoft.

Bing an enterpriser, Gates surely experient several failures but it was believed that he learnt from his errors and adapted himself rapidly. Similarly, he infinitely adapted their concern schemes and patterns to a altering universe as Microsoft transformed and moved towards globalisation and diverseness.

Oprah victory as a media leader as her intuitive, empathic and influential manner construct trust and addition regard from 1000000s. Even though she does non see herself as a concern adult female, she is really successful in every concern she owns ( ain Oprah web site, ain Harpo Productions, Oprah Book Club and O Magazine ) as she systematically touches the Black Marias of people.

She has created values non merely in her concern but besides made important societal impact on people outside her organisation. Her desire to assist and do a difference in people ‘s lives are vividly seen on Television ( Oprah Winfrey Show ) every bit good as her philanthropic foundations ( Angel Network, Oprah Leadership Academy for Girls ).

She seems to be a transformational leader as her boundary is non within her ain concern but more on act uponing other people ‘s lives through media. Premise is that she has non studied or followed precisely the Transformational Theory stipulated by Bass or Kotter as US News ( 2005 ) mentioned that she one time took pride in ne’er holding been taken a concern class or read a concern book. However, her vision which focused on enriching people ‘s lives is so strong and animating that people ( her employees and besides her followers/admirers ) are raised to higher degrees of motive. Oprah has entertained, enlightened and uplifted 1000000s of people around the universe and it is believed that most of her followings, if non all, have greatly benefited in their personal and working lives via the legion plans and activities organized by her organisation. She hence deserved to derive the regard and esteem as a true leader.

7. Decision

Based on extended reading and research on leading books, the writer ‘s conclude that effectual leading truly boils down to how each leader foremost understand himself and so his followings, his organisation and all external factors ( inclusive of consciousness of diverseness, cultural differences and fast changing environment ) prior to accommodating the appropriate leading manners and behaviors to accommodate these state of affairss. In other words, there ‘s no 1 fixed manner as his or her leading manner should change as per today ‘s rapid changing and diversified concern universe.

It is found that Gates is a transformational concern leader and Oprah is more a magnetic but is besides a transformational leader in her ain right.

8. Mentions

Academy of Achievement ( 2010 ) Bill Gates Interview. [ Online ]. Available at:

hypertext transfer protocol: // ( Accessed: 31 May 2010 ).

Academy of Achievement ( 2009 ) Oprah Winfrey Interview. [ Online ]. Available at:

hypertext transfer protocol: // ( Accessed: 31 May 2010 ).

Bass, B.M. & A ; Riggio, R.E. ( 2006 ) Transformational leading. 2nd edn. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associate Inc.

Businessweek ( 2002 ) Oprah Winfrey [ Online ]. Available at:

hypertext transfer protocol: // ( Accessed: 31 May 2010 ).

Cook, L & A ; Rothwell, Brian. ( 2000 ) The X & A ; Y of leading: how work forces and adult females make a difference at work. London: The Industrial Society.

Daft, R.L. ( 2008 ) The leading experience. 4th edn. USA: Thomson South-Western.

Davidson, A. ( 2009 ) 1000 CEOs. United kingdom: Dorling Kindersley Publishers Limited.

Kotter, J.P. ( 1995 ) Leading alteration: why transmutation attempts fail. USA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Krames, J.A. ( 2003 ) What the best Chief executive officer know: 7 exceeding leaders and their lessons for transforming any concern. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.

Microsoft News Center ( 2010 ) Bill Gates life. [ Online ]. Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: // ( Accessed: 11 May 2010 ).

O’Neil, W. ( 2004 ) Business leaders & A ; success: 55 top concern leaders & A ; how they achieved illustriousness. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.

Stogdill, R.M. ( 1974 ) Handbook of leading: a study of the literature. New York: Free Press.

The New York Times, Carr D. ( 2009 ) A Triumph of avoiding the traps. [ Online ]. Available at:

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The New York Times ( 2009 ) Winfrey defends South African school. [ Online ].

Available at:

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The New York Times ( 2010 ) Oprah Winfrey. [ Online ]. Available at:

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U.S. News & A ; World Report ( 2005 ) Heeding her ain voice. [ Online ]. Available at:

hypertext transfer protocol: // ( Accessed: 26 May 2010 ).


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