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Satya Nadella at Microsoft: Instilling a Growth Mindset


Satya Nadella is a positive leader who has dominated the business industry as a CEO of Microsoft. His leadership skills focus on positive leadership, which incorporates the principle of growth mindset and empathy, distinguishing him from many other leaders who believe in command-and-control strategies. Microsoft is a global company based in America that deals with computer software (Windows and Xbox), individual computers, and other electronic devices. This company has been under Satya Nadella for 2014 (Ibarra,2018). He has ensured growth in this company by making huge profits. His leadership principles inspire, motivate, and encourage employees to work together towards attaining a common objective and goals. Understanding his leadership is fundamental for everyone aiming at becoming a successful leader. This paper will focus on applying Nadella’s leadership skills based on learning from Nadella’s example, channeling conflict, effective communication, fostering diversity, and learning. This paper will also elaborate on Nadella’s leadership skills and my leadership career.

Learning from Nadella’s Example

Nadella, in his leadership career as the CEO of Microsoft company, faced challenges with how employees treated each other. He took the company to a point where the organizational objectives and goals were not well defined and exercised by both the employees and the leaders. He introduced positive leadership, which focused on changing the employees’ mindset, which inspired, motivated, and encouraged them to work as a team towards a common goal. Each leader has life challenges, organizational obstacles, and scenarios requiring careful decisions. This subtopic is relevant in helping leaders overcome challenges and problems in their leadership journey.

Nadella and his Background

Nadella’s personal life, mainly his journey as a father, helped shape his career as the CEO of Microsoft company. His elder son had cerebral palsy, and through parenting, he learned the importance of empathy and caring for others (Hobson,2019). This attribute helps him connect with employees and customers (Agnihotri &Bhattacharya,2021). In his career as the CEO, he emphasized the connection between work and passion as a critical determinant of success (Denning,2021). According to Nadella, people should not just do work because an individual has no alternative. Instead, it should have the passion and a goal of improving and bettering other people’s lives.

Nadella and Authentic Leadership

Authentic leadership focuses on self-awareness, transparency, internal moral perspective, and balanced processing (Miao et al.,2018). After Nadella became the CEO of the Microsoft company right after Steve Ballmer in 2014, the company experienced growth and massive profits made by adopting decisions attributed to authentic leadership. His leadership style based on positive relationships through a growth mindset and empathy is the true definition of authentic leadership. Role model management involves a leader inspiring their subordinates through the way they exercise power and performs duties (Gächter & Renner,2018). Nadella’s hard work and passion in improving the performance and sales of the Microsoft company after getting the job when the company was on the verge of collapsing and making the company outshine competitors as evidence of an actual role model. He solved the issues with employees competing for ratings and brought the idea of working together towards a common goal.

Comparing Leadership Styles

My leadership skills are almost the same as Nadella’s; we both share the attribute of a growth mindset as a tool for enhancing performance in any organization. I view command and control perspectives to keep order in an organization. A company runs smoothly and faster where employees follow the rules on what to do and what not, unlike Nadella’s leadership style, where he focuses on incorporating employees’ ideas and views and empathizing with his subordinates.

Leadership and Taking Risks

Nadella took the risk of launching an office version for iOS Apple company, a competitor for a long time. The risk increased sales for Microsoft company and even suppressed Apple and other companies such as Amazon and Alphabet. Risks a leader can take include changing leadership and making competitors your allies. Nadella transformed the employees from their self-minded goals, such as increasing their ratings to working towards a common goal as a team. He also partnered with other companies to ensure the company’s position in the global market. Although these risks benefit the company, there are scenarios where they are the root cause of more significant losses. If the risk presents a greater chance of failure, forget the stakes.

Channeling Conflict

Conflict occurs when there is a disagreement in the concerned fraternity. In the cases of organizations, conflict may result from disputes between employees and the employer, employees themselves, the company, and the external environment, for example, the customers. Conflicts are regular occurrences in any organization; therefore, selecting this topic will give a broader understanding of dealing with the latter.

Nadella and Conflict

When Nadella took over the company, employees had disagreements as they treated each other as competitors instead of focusing on a common goal. Each employee concentrate on increasing their ratings by developing soft wares. He accepted the environment that the employees had already established and worked on changing their mindsets.

How Should Leaders Manage Conflict 

They should manage them effectively and fairly for any organization to run smoothly. A thorough assessment of the conflict’s intensity determines which of the latter to embrace and which ones to avoid (Kondić & Balić,2019). Depending on how a match is taken care of, it can bring positive or negative consequences. Areas of conflict in an organization include internal and external conflicts. Internal conflicts involve the task force and the entire operations, while external conflict involves customers and stakeholders. In achieving a positive outcome towards conflict resolution, a leader should establish communication channels where the employees can air their grievances freely, as this will help diagnose the conflict in the early stages. Restructuring the organization is another way of resolving conflict to eliminate the root cause of the war, for instance, by changing the employees’ mindset. Clearly defining the organizational goal and ensuring that the enforcement is effective serves in preventing unnecessary conflicts.

Areas of Conflict in your Organization

The conflict between employees exists—the dispute results from differences they share in terms of interest and other perspectives. Poor communication is also another cause of these conflicts. Everyone views things differently, hence the reason for misunderstandings resulting in disagreements. The difference in personalities as each individual comes from different backgrounds. Therefore, their preferences differ.

Management of Conflict at your Organization

At the individual level, the need for understanding each other and setting aside differences is a crucial contributor in resolving conflicts. My team conducts team bonding activities on day-offs to better understand each other and avoid disputes that may arise from crossing each other’s line. My organization has communication channels where the employees air their problems if they arise. The organization has a clear goal that the employees aim and achieve and strongly emphasizes teamwork.

Effective Communication

Communication is a critical tool in attaining organizational goals. Effective communication is a parameter to measure the performance of any particular organization. The ability to convey information from one person to another efficiently and effectively forms the basis of effective communication.

Nadella and Communication Barriers

Nadella faced communication barriers in Microsoft company which included the non-interactive people, employees’ rigidity and attitude from the inside, and the outside environment making it hard for him to implement and enforce his new vision. The rigidity of the employees included their perceptions and their aim to impression through working towards increasing individual ratings. Accountability and formality were the critical factors considered before the coming of Nadella. They had to go through the boss to converse with a specific employee. When Nadella became the CEO, the hierarchy in the company was still in place, which meant suppressed creativity.

How Leaders Approach Effective Communication 

A good leader needs the necessary tools to break the barrier of communication. Some of the tools they use include empathy, active listening, transparency, clarity, capability to ask questions to give a compliment to the response (Banwart,2020). These tools provide crucial information essential in exercising managerial duties such as planning, organizing, and leading.

Communication Barriers at Large and Small Organizations

The communication mentioned above skills can be summarized as know it and rigidity. Both large and small business companies face them. The hierarchy type of leadership exists in small business ventures creating tiny room inventions and innovations as employees find it challenging to borrow ideas from the outside world.

Communication Barrier at My Organization

Some of the barriers Nadella faces correlate to my organization’s beginnings, for instance, the rigidity of the employees. Some of the employees in my organization strive to create an impressive picture for the management. Another one is “know it all.” Some try to show others the extent to which they are knowledgeable in that field instead of directing their focus on teamwork.

Fostering Diversity and Learning

Diversity is an essential tool in ensuring that the company dominates the market as it is a driver of high performance. When multiple ideas are converged towards achieving a particular goal, the probability of yielding high production is very high.

Nadella and Diversity

One of the goals of Nadella was to work towards diversity. He achieved that by listening to the employees and holding meetings that allowed them to express themselves; Nadella’s his way of dominating the technology market.

The Importance of Diversity

Diversity in the workplace incorporates people with distinct features such as race, age, education, gender, religion, and language (Grissom,2018), an essential part as it appreciates each individual’s importance and purpose. The inclusion gives a company a competitive advantage in the global market.

Obstacles to Diversity

When adopting diversity, leaders face challenges such as communication barriers, discrimination, prolonged decision-making process, increased misunderstanding, based on culture uneven inclusion, and problems in change adaption.

Your Approach to Diversity

I would work on first breaking the communication barrier linked with diversity. To prevent vices that arise from variety, I will strive to ensure every individual interest is adhered to, primarily through developing communication channels that allow people to discuss their problems with no judgments. I will also provide the organization is open to all people from either side of the globe and ensure that they all have equal chances of participation in matters concerning the organization. Increased diversity will bring different innovative ideas that will improve performance and place the organization on top in the global market.


In summary, this paper four topics: Nadella as a leader and the lessons learned from his leadership, channeling conflict, effective communication, and fostering diversity. My focus on this topic and its application in the case study has enhanced my understanding of good leadership, a relevant example being Nadella. His leadership style, which incorporates aspects of empathy, visions, and change mindsets, motivated me to use him as my role model.


Agnihotri, A., & Bhattacharya, S. (2021). Satya Nadella: Leading Microsoft’s Growth. SAGE Publications: SAGE Business Cases Originals.

Banwart, M. (2020). Communication studies: Effective communication leads to effective leadership. New Directions for Student Leadership2020(165), 87-97.

Denning, S. (2021). The digital age is transforming job descriptions, especially for CEOs. Strategy & Leadership.

Gächter, S., & Renner, E. (2018). Leaders as role models and ‘belief managers’ in social dilemmas. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization154, 321-334.

Hobson, P. (2019). Satya Nadella: Bringing Microsoft into the Modern Age. The E&S Magazine63(2), 13.

Ibarra, H., Rattan, A., & Johnston, A. (2018). Satya Nadella at Microsoft: Instilling a growth mindset. Harvard Business Review case, No. LBS128, 1-22.

Kondić, V., & Balić, I. (2019). Leadership and conflict management in production organisations. Tehnički glasnik13(4), 356-362.

Miao, C., Humphrey, R. H., & Qian, S. (2018). Emotional intelligence and authentic leadership: a meta-analysis. Leadership & Organization Development Journal.


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