The purpose of this report is to explore the published work on strategic leadership in order to develop an inventory of qualities, skills and behaviours that define and explain the concept of strategic leadership. A full review of literature on this topic aims to shed light on this definition.
Having discussed and defined this concept the report will then focus on Bill Gates, former CEO of the Microsoft Corporation, with the aim of answering the following question. Is Bill Gates a Strategic Thinker and Leader? Throughout history we will recall that in the past, the word "leader" conjured up visions of an almost mythical figure astride a warhorse, slaying dragons or single-handedly rallying troops to achieve victory over superior foes. These leaders projected their authority so that others would follow; they could do any task better than their followers. They achieved success through personal tenacity, brute strength, and physical boldness, sometimes at the cost of their own lives. Much of the initial work in leadership theory revolved around the idea of identifying the traits of popular political and military heroes such as Caesar, Wellington, Roosevelt and Churchill. However, the problem with the ‘great man’ approach was that no congruent body of traits could be identified, that much of leadership success was evidently dependent upon the particular situation.
Nevertheless, the tabloid press helps us to think of the corporate leader as the great man. For instance we often read of Bill Gates or Jack Welch as if they were primarily responsible for many years of success at Microsoft and General Electric. Although both were unarguably highly effective chief executives, what is it that drove these men and their companies to their success?
A leader in innovative technology
The Microsoft Corporation has been a giant in the software industry for over three decades. The company’s...