Mar 22, 2017 Wheeler Coleman Leadership No Comments

Leadership Styles Of The Most Influential Thought Leaders In Tech

The tech sector has never been more exciting and its growth has been incredible.

What leadership styles have helped tech to have explosive growth? What has helped Google, Yahoo and Amazon crush the competition and establish themselves?

We analyzed some of the most influential thought leaders in tech and found six leadership styles they share in common, and which have helped them, their staff, and their companies to achieve enormous success.

“Leadership is not about a title or designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire teammates and customers.”

    – Robin S. Sharma

What qualities does a great leader have? Vast question.

There is no magic bullet for what makes a great leader, but in this article we’re going to explore some leadership styles of the most influential thought leaders in tech. This will give you a better understanding of why the companies they work for are so successful, and how you can level up your own company by cherry-picking their best techniques.

After all, what makes or breaks any company is its leadership style. Everyone is affected by the way the leaders lead and their various management styles, from those packing parcels in the mail room, to the chief executives at the top. Leaders take companies forward, providing their staff with a crystal clear vision, and motivating them to always be at their best.

There are a variety of different leadership styles. But the world’s best thought leaders in tech all share common traits.

They all have emotional intelligence.

This is important, because it is emotional intelligence that allows a leader to balance their own goals and objectives with those of their team and company. Emotional intelligence ensures that a leader doesn’t blindly follow their own vision all the time without taking onboard the advice and suggestions of others. Instead, emotional intelligence allows a leader to be open to ideas from others and, from time to time, to even put their ideas first.

Below are six leadership styles that the most influential thought leaders in tech have in common:

1) Visionary

A leader must always have a clear, exciting vision that they can easily share and articulate. A vision that can’t easily be shared with or excite others is not a vision – it’s mist.

2) Affiliative

The most influential leaders in tech right now know that collaboration is the future. They don’t close their doors to their staff – instead, they keep them open. Moreover, they’re willing to foster an environment that allows their staff with their variety of emotional needs to flourish.

3) Coaching

A hot question right now is “What is coaching?”

Coaches are your friend. They look out for you, help you out, and make sure that you’re the best you can be. Apart from yourself, a coach is your biggest cheerleader who challenges and pushes you to unleash your full potential within the company.

And this is exactly what the top thought leaders in tech do.

4) Commanding

What good is a leader if they have no authority? Authority is established by knowledge, but also by power. The more commanding a leader is, the more they are able to organize, rouse and stay on top of their troops.

A good leader will be your friend, but they’ll also be your commander.

5) Pace-Setting

Imagine what the tech sector would be like without pace-setting? It wouldn’t be where it is today, that’s for sure. Good leaders dictate the pace of a company. They set the tone, and others follow.

Pace-setting is all about setting standards and leading from the top. Leaders generally want their staff to meet their own high standards, which can sometimes be a double-edged sword.

6) Democratic

An influential leader doesn’t close their ears just because you’ve got some bad news to deliver or you’re not an executive. They give everyone and everything a chance and a platform. Democracy and not totalitarianism, is their system.

It’s important to remember that a good leader isn’t solely democratic or commanding. They tend to combine two or even three styles. Each one is a key ingredient. Take one away, and the leader loses their edge.

Let’s now focus on a few of the most influential thought leaders in tech and the leadership styles they hone. We will take a look at the head honchos of:

  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • Amazon

Eric Schmidt, Exec Chairman at Google – Visionary and Democratic

Eric Schmidt largely goes against the grain at Google because he wears a suit and tie. It reminds people of Corporate America, but Schmidt has proven to be a powerhouse success at the search engine giant.

As executive chairman, Eric Schmidt provides three things:

  • Leadership
  • Operational Expertise
  • Organisational Expertise

Schmidt’s rise to the top has been bumpy and there have been setbacks. But what we love about his story is that he’s a man who threw himself into the spotlight and learned on the job. He made mistakes, and even experienced failures. But he learned lessons and refined his leadership style.

For example, life wasn’t so peachy for Schmidt at Novell. He got too many things wrong and ultimately failed.

However, once a number of venture capitalists put him on a tight leash, he did well. He began to flourish and tapped into democratic and visionary styles that helped Google to surpass $1,000,000,000 in revenue.

As well as being democratic and having a strong vision, Schmidt is also a patient leader who understands that sometimes people just need a bit of time to get things right.

Rather than a leader barking at them every five seconds.

Schmidt also strikes us as a genial, friendly leader who likes to get to know his staff. He rewards anyone who does well for him, and he respects his employees enough to let them figure out problems.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo – Democratic And Commanding

The tech sector hasn’t always been cool. As a matter of fact, all you have to do is rewind back a few years to see just how totally uncool it used to be.

Marissa Mayer was an exception to the rule back then. She’s always been cool.

She entered the tech scene while still unbelievably young, but managed to quickly position herself in the role of leader at one of the industry’s quickest-ever growing companies – Google.

It was during her tenure at Google that she became known for her democratic values. She welcomed suggestions from employees, and was at the helm during a period of breathtaking invention and innovation at Google, when Google Maps, Google News and Gmail were launched.

She was also commanding. Some detractors labeled this style as “bullying,” but the truth is that she got results, and it was her success that convinced Yahoo to poach her.

And were they glad they hired her, as since taking the reins at Yahoo, Mayer’s commanding style has ensured the tech giant has been able to re-establish itself, minimize competition and boost growth.

Marissa is fiercely competitive, works crazily hard and fast, and is open to suggestions.

Jeff Bezo, Founder, and CEO of Amazon – Visionary, Commanding And Pace-Setting

Jeff Bezo put his heart and soul into Amazon. Even today, despite having passed 50, and despite having billions in the bank, he still works 9-5.

And he still loves it.

Why? Because he loves two things:

  • Customers
  • Metrics

And no doubt, he always will.

Every decision he has ever made has been with his customers in mind. But how does this fit into his leadership style? He can take calculated risks with innovation, knowing that he’s essentially doing the right thing.

Bezo is visionary enough to know that this quarter or that quarter don’t mean much if it isn’t what’s best for their millions of customers. They always come first and always will.

Bezo might have billions in the bank, but he’s remarkably frugal. His salary is small, but he always makes sure that his employees are well-looked after. He’s friendly, and it’s this friendliness which you see manifested in his company’s culture. Yes, working for Amazon is intense – but it’s also cordial.

As you can see, thought leaders in tech aren’t obsessed with control. They promote democratic values, and they want to empower their staff and mobilize their troops. They see themselves as guides who motivate others. All these values ensure that they get the best out of themselves, their company, and their staff.