Want to know what’s unique about Jeff Bezos’ leadership style?
Jeff Bezos is a phenomenal entrepreneur and leader who has achieved tremendous success with Amazon.
Hence, we deem it fit to consider his leadership style.
What makes him the revolutionary leader that he is today?
As s business owner or leader, you must learn from the best to become the best.
So, stay with us as we share valuable insight into Jeff Bezos’ leadership style, who he is, and what makes him a unique leader.
Jeff Bezos Leadership Style
Before studying Jeff Bezos’s leadership style, it makes sense to do some background checks on him.
Hence, let’s consider a brief historical background about this phenomenal leader.
About Jeff Bezos
Jeff Preston Bezos, born on January 12, 1964, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is an American entrepreneur, industrialist, and investor.
He’s also the CEO of the tech company Amazon, One of the world’s largest online stores.
Due to his love for tech, he studied computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton University in the United States of America.
After he graduated from Princeton University, he went ahead to work on Wall Street.
He started his journey to greatness by becoming the youngest senior vice president at the investment firm D.E. Shaw& Co. in 1990.
However, he quit his job in 1994 to start his business.
Jeff Bezos’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Jeff Bezo’s entrepreneurial story is like many we’ve heard before; starting small with the passion, commitment, zeal, and resilience to see their big dreams come true.
His entrepreneurial journey started from a very unlikely place, in his parents’ garage.
He launched Amazon in 1995 as an online book store with a few employees as members of his startup team.
Shortly after the launch of Amazon, Bezos started to see profits in his business, a little more than he expected.
He recorded sales of $20,000 in a week only after two months of starting the business.
Hence, he was able to expand his business such that it gained public recognition in 1997.
Like most people would think of any startup, people began questioning if Amazon could survive beyond the first few years.
However, Jeff Bezos and his team were relentless.
Thus, the business continued to grow and outpaced its competitors.
As an innovative entrepreneur, Jeff Bezos never stopped looking for opportunities to expand the business and look for new ways to offer unique services to his target market.
This is one of the many reasons Amazon is a huge success today.
Not only is Jeff Bezos the owner of a successful online store.
He also owns several other businesses like The Washington Post (a newspaper publishing company), which he acquired in 2013, and Whole Foods ( a grocery store chain), which he acquired in 2017.
He also founded Blue Origin, a human spaceflight company, in 2000.
Overall, Jeff Bezos is an entrepreneur extraordinaire.
He built Amazon from a small startup company to a mega online business by diversifying its services and branching into several other businesses.
Now a look into Jeff Bezos’s leadership Style.
Jeff Bezos Leadership Style
Bezos has successfully managed the business as a business owner and leader.
Over the years, he has proved himself a leader worthy of emulation leading the team and achieving success for 27years now.
There’s certainly a lot we can learn from his leadership experience.
First off, who is a leader?
A leader is simply someone who inspires others to work towards achieving a common goal through his/her actions.
A leader is not just the one who sits at the top, giving instructions.
Instead, a leader moves people to act towards achieving set goals.
There are different types of leaders/leadership styles, especially in business management, and they include;
Leadership Styles In Business Management- Jeff Bezos Leadership Style
This leadership style is one in which the organizational leader involves his/her team members in decision-making.
Before making any decision, the leader accepts opinions, ideas, and suggestions from his/her followers before making the final decision.
However, this may not be the best leadership style to adopt if quick decisions and prompt action need to be taken.
Transformational Leadership Style- Jeff Bezos’s Leadership Style
Here, the leader inspires and motivates the team toward achieving organizational goals.
The leader shows an excellent example by modeling good behavior and working efficiently towards the organization’s goals.
By doing this, the team understands the organization’s goals and is inspired to take the organization to great heights collaboratively.
Furthermore, in the transformational leadership style, the leader believes and trusts every team member’s capability to handle tasks that would help the company achieve its goals.
Hence, the leader provides the necessary training, guidance, mentorship, and motivation needed to help the team/employees accomplish organizational goals.
This leadership style involves everyone understanding the organization’s vision and being brought on board towards achieving it.
While this can unite every team member towards a common cause, this kind of leadership carries a high potential to be directed towards an opposing cause.
Autocratic Leadership Style
This leadership style is the opposite of the democratic leadership style.
Here, the autocratic leader makes all the decisions without consulting or considering other team members’ opinions.
This kind of leadership makes decision-making quicker, especially in business management.
However, it may lead to team members’ dissatisfaction and disloyalty when they perceive that they are not considered an important part of the organization.
This is also known as the delegating leadership style.
Here, the leader does not micro-manage the team.
Instead, he/she delegates duties to team members and allows them independently make important decisions that directly or indirectly impact the organization.
This leadership style helps team members maximize their potential and problem-solving skills.
However, when the team members lack the required skills to handle delegated duties, this leadership style can be counterproductive.
Bureaucratic Leadership Style
This leadership style is based on strict rules, more or less like the autocratic leadership style.
Here the leader sets strict rules/chain of authority that every team member is expected to follow.
This kind of leadership promotes orderliness, respect for authority, and conformity to the organization’s policies.
However, it limits the team’s creativity and productivity as they must comply with strict rules and procedures for doing things in the organization.
A servant leader is an empathetic and generous leader who puts the needs/welfare of this team/followers’ needs/welfare first.
In business management, the servant leadership style requires that the leader prioritize the team’s needs to help them develop and perform optimally towards achieving organizational goals.
This leadership style makes team members feel satisfied and valued, increasing their productivity and efficiency.
This leadership style helps the leader earn respect and improves the team’s overall performance.
However, it encourages incompetence in the team members and can be burdensome for the leader as he/she would most likely have to step up to handle tasks that the team members cannot handle.
This is another effective leadership style that focuses on managing the team on a reward and punishment basis.
In this leadership style, the relationship between the leader and the team members is perceived as transactional.
The team enters into a working transaction with the leader in performing specific tasks under the leader’s supervision.
Furthermore, a reward and punishment system promotes compliance by the team members in this leadership style.
Team members who complete specific tasks are given monetary compensation.
On the other hand, team members who default rules, procedures, and standards will be punished based on the organization’s policies.
Overall, this leadership style makes managing and supervising employees quite easy.
Everyone on the team clearly understands the specific role they ought to play and what is required of them.
However, it may dampen the creativity and innovativeness of team members.
That’s it on the various leadership style in business management.
Now, you understand the various leadership styles and what each entails.
So, what leadership styles does Jeff Bezos use that make Amazon an exceptional organization?
Jeff Bezos Leadership Style – What Makes Him An Exceptional Business Leader
A Havard Business review revealed Jeff Bezos as one of the best examples of transformational leadership.
They researched various top-performing businesses and concluded their findings based on these businesses’ innovation, diversification, and financial performances.
Let’s find out what makes Jeff Bezos a transformational leader and how he applied this leadership style in building the Amazon business empire.
Transformational Leadership Qualities In Jeff Bezos
We understand that the transformational leadership style is one where the leader inspires the team to believe in the company’s vision and goals.
In this section, we’ll see the qualities/traits that make Jeff Bezos a transformational leader and how it impacts the way he leads the company.
One trait that makes Jeff Bezos a transformational leader is his strong passion and vision.
Not only does he have a strong vision, but he communicates this vision to his team/employees.
More so, everyone on the team is brought on board towards achieving this vision.
The vision for Amazon.com is;
“to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Everyone in the organization understands this vision and works with him towards achieving this.
Today Amazon.com is one of the largest online stores where you can find almost anything you want, such as groceries, office supplies, and more.
Hence, as a business leader, you should have a strong vision for what you want to achieve with the organization and communicate this with your team.
Thereby making you and your team members work towards achieving a common goal.
Not only is Jeff Bezos a visionary leader, but he’s also an inspirational leader.
Over the years, he has achieved so much success with Amazon.com, not just because he has an excellent vision for the company’s future but also because he’s willing to put in the work required to achieve the goal.
Many times, before and after the start of Amazon.com, he experienced so many setbacks, yet he was relentless.
These personal beliefs and values also reflect how he leads his employees by encouraging them to stay motivated to achieve organizational goals regardless of how difficult they might seem, inspiring them to maximize their full potential for the success of Amazon.
Hence, to be a good business leader, your actions, beliefs, and values should inspire your team.
Team Building- Jeff Bezos Leadership Style
Jeff Bezos understands the importance of teams in an organization as a business leader.
Hence, he has various teams of professionals working in multiple departments of the organization towards achieving the common goal of making Amazon.com an exceptional organization.
He also came up with a two-pizza rule (a rule that ensures that each team consists of a number that two pizza boxes can feed.)
This way, the organization is made up of smaller teams that are easy to manage.
Also, this way, meetings can be handled effectively, discussions/feedback are easily gathered, and information gets across quickly.
Overall, this is a rule that can enhance the team’s efficiency and productivity in the organization.
Principles Of Jeff Bezos As A Business Leader- Jeff Bezos Leadership Style
Besides being vision-driven, inspirational, and a good team builder, Jeff Bezos also has certain principles he lives by.
These principles also impact how he runs his business as a transformational leader.
Thinking Long Term
Jeff Bezos is a long-term thinker; as such, he embarks on business projects with long-term plans.
More so, his business principle is never to sacrifice long-term value for short-term profits.
He says, “at Amazon, we like things to work in five to seven years. We’re willing to plant seeds, let them grow — and we’re very stubborn.
We say we’re stubborn on vision and flexible on details.” — Jeff Bezos.
Given Amazon.com’s success, you can tell that thinking long-term is more beneficial for your business.
Customer Obsession- Jeff Bezos Leadership Style
Jeff Bezos also has the business philosophy of putting customers first.
Jeff Bezos considers the customers more important than his team, and even in his team meetings, there’s always an empty chair in the room.
This empty chair is always for the imaginary customer (the most important person in the room) that everyone should focus on.
This is how much he values his customers.
His company’s mission and vision statement also reflect this.
All businesses will tell you that customer’s come first, and most are obsessed with the competition.
However, not all are obsessed with customer satisfaction like Jeff Bezos, who constantly reminds everyone on his team to be.
Hence, he runs his business by paying attention to the competition and obsessing over the customers.
Innovation and Curiosity- Jeff Bezos’s Leadership Style
Another business principle of Jeff Bezos is to remain always innovative.
This principle can also be seen in how far Amazon.com has improved over the years.
What started as an online book store has become a “store for everything,” such as groceries, tech gadgets, entertainment, and even cloud service.
This is because Bezos is always curious about how things work, willing to take risks and invent new ways of doing things.
Amazon has had its fair share of failed endeavors.
However, more than the failures and setbacks, Amazon.com has recorded many successes from being innovative.
Even more, it’s still reaping the benefits of breaking new grounds in the business world.
Prioritizing Operational Excellence
Another core principle that guides Bezos as a business leader is operational excellence.
Like customer obsession, he prioritizes operational excellence towards offering exceptional services to Amazon customers.
According to Bezos, operational excellence implies two things;
- Delivering continuous improvement in customer experience
- Driving productivity, margin, efficiency, and asset velocity across all our businesses
Hence, Amazon is constantly improving its services to ensure customers get the best experience on the Amazon platform.
Jeff Bezos believes that operational excellence from the team would lead to increased customer satisfaction.
Consequently, leading to profitability in the business.
This is another principle of Jeff Bezos worth pointing out.
Jeff Bezos is a relentless business owner, which helps him overcome many obstacles he faces in the business.
There’s no business without challenges, and Amazon.com has had its own fair share of challenges to deal with.
However, through his resilience, he was able to come out of such situations.
Hence the reason Amazon is still standing as one of the world’s biggest business empires today.
Final Thoughts On Jeff Bezos Leadership Style
Overall, Jeff Bezos is an exemplary modern-day leader, and there’s a lot we can learn from him.
One amazing fact about Jeff Bezos is that he’s an avid reader.
You could consider reading some books on his reading list to learn about some of his philosophies.
Amazon started as an online book store.
Now it offers a wide range of services to people globally.
There’s still so much that Amazon.com can achieve.
After 27 years of existence, Amazon remains strong as a global enterprise.
Even now, a whole new world of opportunities awaits the business as they prepare to pass on the mantle of leadership to Andy Jassy.
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