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  • Sukanya Mukherjee

Satya Nadella: the Perfect Example of a Unique Leader



One of the most common words yet, the most elusive, is leadership. Youngsters more than often find themselves aspiring to be a leader. Along with the power and willingness to make a difference, there must be qualities that shape the character of a true leader. But is that what leadership means? Or is it something more?


I have always found myself drawn to the ideas of leadership. Who is a true leader? What qualities do we seek in a leader? Is the person at the top of the company always the leader?


Needless to say, there are many dynamic personalities across the globe who, with time, have proved invaluable to their company. They led their firms in times of sheer struggle. One such man who changed the outlook of Microsoft is the protagonist of today's story. This is the story of Satya Nadella.


That One Interview

Microsoft is known for conducting extensive interviews. When Satya Nadella appeared for it, it was no different. After successfully answering all the questions. The last interviewer, Richard Tate, asked a question that he couldn't imagine. Tate asked what he would do if he saw a baby crying at the crossroads. Nadella was stunned. This was not the kind of question Nadella had ever prepared. He thought for a while and replied that he would call the emergency services. After the interview, Tate walked him out, and he needed to have some empathy. Then he added that a crying child at the crossroads required to be picked up and hugged.


Nadella never forgot the value of empathy and perhaps even learned to rediscover it. This was one of the most crucial lessons of his life. Later on, he mentioned how having empathy is a great leadership quality and it helped him overcome personal struggles too.


Intellectual Honesty

An aspiring Satya Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 as a young engineer. In 2014 he was declared CEO of the company. Nadella accepted the responsibility at a time when many believed that the glory days of Microsoft were over. Although standing at a market capitalisation of 311.2 billion dollars, Microsoft was still a story of the past. Nadella understood this scenario and saw it as it was. This intellectual honesty is one of the most vital leadership qualities that has always been Nadella's strong suit.


The Silver Lining in Cloud

Nadella saw that the primary source of Microsoft's revenue was being generated from the consumer and products segment. Both his intellect and visionary minds told him that this was the very opportunity he was looking for. Under his leadership, Microsoft started to optimally use their cloud service platform. Initially released in 2008, Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing platform, was considered a passive resource of revenue. Under Nella's new guidance, Microsoft started to expand their cloud services. As of 2021, 42 per cent of revenue was generated by cloud service. At present, Microsoft's current market capitalisation stands at 2.3 trillion dollars. Its cloud computing services stand second, next only to Apple Incorporated.


The Visionary

Nadella's main challenge was to make Microsoft relevant in a rapidly changing world. During his first 5 years, he made the acquisitions of Github, Minecraft and LinkedIn. This decision played a huge role in shaping Microsoft's future. Acquiring LinkedIn was a really big milestone for Nadella. Buying a company like LinkedIn may not be a preference for many CEOs. But Nadella knew how empowering it would be to bring them together.


Mr. Learn-it-all

The most impressive quality of Mr. Nadella is his hunger for knowledge. In all of his interviews and speeches, he always emphasises the power of education and how it can transform a person. He has a strong penchant for books and any other sources that will offer him knowledge.


Humility Matters

There is no greater fault in human character than hubris. If you want to rise high, you must remember your roots. Being humble does not make you any less than who truly you are. It keeps you grounded. Mr. Nadella has always been a vehement advocate of humility and grace. This is one of the best qualities of a people-oriented leader.


Personal Battles

Up until now, you must have thought this was a glorious journey. Don't be so hasty as to reach that conclusion. The death of a child is the most terrifying nightmare for any parent, and Satya Nadella had to go through that. His son, Zain, was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and had no sight. Initially, he could not bear to see his son suffer like that. Like most of us, he, too, wondered why. Later on, it was his empathy that showed him the way to solace. He decided to be there for him, and that's what he did.


It is Not Easy but…

Being a leader is more than what you can imagine. It is about accepting the many lessons that life taught you and letting them bring out the best in you. There is absolutely no place for complacency or arrogance. Incorporating your truest and purest qualities with an innovative growth mindset and supporting the people who are your army- is not all that easy.

But then, it was easy, and it would not be adventurous, right?


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