Satya Nadella was selected as CEO of Microsoft in February of 2014, and since then he has brought about tremendous changes. Not only has he created success in many unexpected ways for the company, but he’s recreated Microsoft for its employees. They went from feeling pressured to compete with one another to feeling valued and unified, working to empower all towards innovation. So what is it about Nadella that makes them want to follow him?
We’ve done our research. One common theme with Nadella is humility. He urges everyone—but especially those in a position of authority—to view others as more powerful than themselves. All members of the team should feel that their voice is worthy of being heard. In an interview with Business Insider, Nadella stated: “Create an environment where everyone in the company can feel that they can bring their A-game and be respected for who they are.” He also mentions that when looking for a new employee, he searches for someone who produces energy and clarity. This kind of personality is the type to search for innovation in unexpected ways and present it to the team.
In the same interview, Nadella made a profound statement: “Don’t be a know-it-all, be a learn-it-all.” What did he mean by this? It doesn’t matter how much innate capability the know-it-all starts with, the person who continues to grow is the one who will succeed. If you forever consider yourself a student rather than an expert, you shift your end-goal from being status to advancement. Having this outlook is especially important in an industry like technology, where boundaries are continually being pushed.
We’ve all heard it said before: listen more, talk less. But Nadella is living proof that this advice really does produce results. This method can add immense value to seemingly time-wasting meetings, especially for leaders like himself. Having the chance to hear what is on your colleagues’ minds can be extremely helpful. This opportunity combined with the ability to receive feedback well is an incredibly valuable experience. A leader that is able to see clearly his or her own flaws and admit them is one that will be highly respected by their subordinates.
Satya Nadella’s whole philosophy is about ensuring that Microsoft services are accessible no matter where you are or what time of day it is. And he’s accepted the fact that you may not be near a Windows computer. That’s what has led Nadella to form partnerships that no one envisioned happening. Like in 2016, when Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation. They also made their largest deal in history when they acquired Linkedin for $26.2 billion. Or when they released Microsoft Office in the Apple App Store. Oh and let’s not forget when Nadella demonstrated this unification on stage in 2015, by using an iPhone to showcase his favorite Microsoft apps. Nadella has learned to fully reflect the mission of Microsoft, “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” He lets no pride step in the way of ground-breaking developments.