Getting That Promotion - 4 Powerful Lessons From Microsoft's CEO

By Sukh Singh, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International

If you think of Microsoft, the name Satya Nadella may not immediately spring to mind, but here are four reasons you should definitely pay attention to the new CEO and how those reasons can help you advance your career. 

He Works Hard To Genuinely Understand People

As Blake Irving, former Microsoft executive and current CEO of GoDaddy recounted to Tech Insider:

"Engineers love him, he's a business guy, he's super technical… but he's a sensitive guy and he listens...There's two types of listeners at that company. The guy who listens for the break in the sentence so he can interrupt you and get his point of view in, or the guy who listens to you to really understand and learn. And Satya was always the guy who listened to really understand and learn."

And as WIRED magazine notes…

He Woke Up To His Priorities

"Zain, the first of his three children, was born profoundly disabled... Initially Nadella asked himself, “Why us? Why did this happen to us?” But after a couple of years, his perspective shifted. “We realized this has nothing to do about us and everything to do about him,” he says. His son’s condition helped him see beyond himself and compelled him to force-rank his daily priorities so that he could meet his son’s needs and still perform his job—the same skill so necessary for effective management."

He Builds Bridges & Has a Thirst For Learning

"He has forged new partnerships with companies Microsoft once considered enemies and spent time with startups to learn how innovative business models work."

He Gets Motivation From His Best Connections

"To motivate people, Nadella asked Bill Gates to spend 30 percent of his time as technical adviser to the company. Nadella sees the moral authority of the founder as a critical management tool. “When I say, ‘Hey, I want you to go run this by Bill,’ I know they’re going to do their best job prepping for it,” he says."

Notice a pattern? Yes, Satya Nadella deeply values people, relationships and learning. He may have studied as an engineer but this trait has not only seen him naturally rise to the top (he was chosen by former CEO Bill Gates), he is actually enhancing the culture at Microsoft too - something that very few employees will take the time to do.

Extracts from Tech Insider and Wired.com.

How can you use these powerful lessons to further your career or develop your network?

Share in the comments below...

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Satya Nadella image courtesy of Bhupinder Nayyar @Flickr