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Jeff Bezos Leadership Style: 7 Valuable Principles You Can Use

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The 57-year-old Jeff Bezos is an American engineer, investor, philanthropist, and most notably, the founder of Amazon. Jeff Bezos graduated from Princeton University, where he completed his degree in Physics and Computer Science.

In the late 1990s, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com. And today, that same company has made him the richest man in the world with a current net worth of 196.6 Billion dollars.

Amazon.com originally sold books only, but later transitioned into an online store for many other goods. Today, Amazon employs about 1.3 million people worldwide.

With Amazon achieving tremendous success under the leadership of the e-commerce king Jeff Bezos, there is surely a lot the world can learn from his leadership style.

This article digs deep into Jeff Bezos leadership style and lays down key takeaways for you to implement in your own career.

What is Jeff Bezos Leadership Style?

Although Jeff Bezos’ leadership principles come under different leadership styles, he is best described as a transformational leader.

Transformational leaders strive hard to become the best in the world. They care less about their job title or financial position.

Their primary focus is on passion, vision, and leading their teams from the front towards achieving great things. They emphasize a lot on making their employees the best versions of themselves.

Jeff Bezos has a clear vision, and he inspires his team to work together towards achieving it. Obviously, vision without proper action and useful innovation is useless.

But Jeff makes sure his team is not only taking compulsory steps to get better with each passing day but also innovating to stay ahead of the game.

7 Habits You Can Learn From Jeff Bezos Leadership Style

Now that we have discussed the leadership style of Jeff Bezos, it is time to shed some light on the leadership practices of the CEO of Amazon.

Leading a company to success isn’t a walk in the park. It requires skills, patience, and determination-among other things.

Let’s discuss what Jeff Bezos practices that has made him the world’s richest person.

1) Work in Small Teams

Jeff firmly believes in working with small teams. He thinks if a team has more than a few individuals, then that team is too big.

According to Bezos, your team needs to be big enough to get the ideas flowing and see things from different perspectives. But at the same time, it should be small enough so you can get the actual work done without too many obstacles.

Jeff came up with a strange “2 Pizza” rule. He said, if the food served in a meeting exceeds 2 boxes of pizza, then your team is too big. And that is a good time to reconsider the size of your team.

2) Hire The Right People

Jeff Bezos leaves no stones unturned in hiring the right people for the job. One reason for Amazon’s outstanding success is the capability of its employees.

Amazon tracks its performance and hires only the best talent from across the world, and it shows in the results the company produces. Jeff emphasizes a lot on hiring driven individuals with a passion and love for what they do.

The key lesson for you? Only hire people who are passionate and have interests aligned with yours.

3) Be Customer-Centric

Perhaps one of the major contributors to Amazon’s success is the company’s customer-focused approach. Rather than wasting time on what the competitors are doing, Amazon (and Jeff Bezos) focuses on how they can serve their customers better.

In fact, Jeff has a public email that allows Amazon’s customers to send their complaints directly to him.

To further build on the customer satisfaction-focused approach of Amazon, let’s look at the company’s vision statement.

Amazon’s vision is “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

This helps Amazon stand apart from its competitors. Amazon starts with the customer experience and focuses on what they want and tries its best to fulfil their demands.

4) Take Risks

Taking risks is important for success in life. Nothing great ever comes from within our comfort zones. You need to go out there and explore fresh ideas.

Often, the best of ideas come to life with experimentation. And as they say, if you already know the outcome, it’s not an experiment.

In his very first annual letter in 1997, Jeff Bezos wrote, “Given a 10 percent chance of a 100-times payout, take that bet every time.”

We have seen Jeff Bezos take some bold steps in decision making along the way of making his company successful. According to him, even if you fail while taking a risk, it’s still a win. Because you will always learn something from taking that risk.

And it’s through learning that a person becomes excellent at decision making while taking risks, isn’t it?

5) Master Human Skills

It doesn’t matter how much industry knowledge you have. If you’re not good at understanding people and communicating with them, you will never reach your full potential.

One thing that is prominent in Jeff Bezos leadership style is his public skills. Being good with people allows Bezos to see things from different perspectives. This, in return, helps Bezos understand situations better and then act accordingly.

According to Forbes, in 2012, “the CEO of Amazon strives forward by learning customers’ needs and figure out what they want before the time to ‘ring the cash register’ comes.”

If there’s one thing you should take away from CEO Jeff Bezos’ leadership, it’s his human skills.

6) Embrace New Experiences

What has contributed immensely to Jeff Bezos’ success is his ability to embrace change and new ideas. He immersed deep into the potential of internet and tried to build a business through the internet long before the world even took notice of its existence.

Bezos created the biggest bookstore on earth through the help of internet. Later, he experimented with building warehouses across the country. Today, we see that his ability to try something new continuously results in him being recognized as the richest man in the world.

The ability to embrace change quickly is one of the most important lessons from Jeff Bezos’ leadership style.

In fact, we see that some of the most influential and successful leaders have one thing in common: they do not shy away from change. They all welcome new experiences with open arms and learn in the process.

So, next time you have the opportunity of trying something new, go for it. And learn from your new experiences as much as you can. Soon, you will find yourself on the road to success.

7) Be Specific

Bezos hates long PowerPoint presentations that offers no actual value. He believes they serve no real purpose and wastes time.

Managers at Amazon use a 6-page written memo that lays out the entire agenda of the meeting.

This strategy helps the company focus only on the important things and avoid fluff.

Motivational Jeff Bezos Quotes on Leadership and Business

There is a lot we can learn from Jeff Bezos’ leadership practices. But here are a few quotes from the man himself. Read what Jeff Bezos has said about leadership, innovation, and business in the past.

Once you have read these quotes, take some time to reflect on them. And decide how you can implement the teachings in your own business, or your life in general.

  1. “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”
  2. “If you are competitor focused, you’d have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”
  3. “You can have the best technology. You can have the best business model. But if the storytelling isn’t amazing, it won’t matter. Nobody will watch.”
  4. “Your margin is my opportunity.”
  5. “I strongly believe that missionaries make better products. They care more. For a missionary, it’s not just about the business. There has to be a business, and the business has to make sense, but that’s not why you do it. You do it because you have something meaningful that motivates you.”
  6. “We innovate by starting with the customer and work backwards. That becomes the touchstone for how we invent.”
  7. “When [competitors are] in the shower in the morning, they’re thinking about how they’re going to get ahead of one of their top competitors. Here in the shower, we’re thinking about how we are going to invent something on behalf of a customer.” 
  8. “Market research doesn’t help. If you had gone to a customer in 2013 and said, ‘Would you like a black, always-on cylinder in your kitchen about the size of a Pringles can that you can talk to and ask questions, that also turns on your lights and plays music?’ I guarantee you they’d have looked at you strangely and said, ‘No, thank you.'”
  9. “I do get asked quite frequently ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ What I rarely get asked, and it’s probably more important — and I encourage you to think about this — is the question, ‘What’s not going to change?’ The answer to that question can allow you to organize your activities. You can work on those things with the confidence to know that all the energy you put into them today is still going to pay dividends in the years to come.” 
  10. “Failure and invention are inseparable twins. To invent, you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.”
  11. “I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”
  12. “We take risks all the time, we talk about failure. We need big failures in order to move the needle. If we don’t, we’re not swinging enough. You really should be swinging hard, and you will fail, but that’s okay.”
  13. “We all know that if you swing for the fences, you’re going to strike out a lot, but you’re also going to hit some home runs.”  
  14. “The difference between baseball and business, however, is that baseball has a truncated outcome distribution. When you swing, no matter how well you connect with the ball, the most runs you can get is four. In business, every once in a while, when you step up to the plate, you can score 1,000 runs.”
  15. “If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon.”
  16.  Bezos also says, “If you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”
  17.  “If you never want to be criticized, for goodness’ sake don’t do anything new.”

These quotes must have inspired you to work harder to make your business successful. Whenever you feel you need some motivation or time to reflect, read these quotes again or explore other quotes. They will surely inspire you to keep moving forward no matter what.

Conclusion

For years, Bezos has led Amazon to significant achievements. Today, if someone asks you the names of the biggest companies in the world, you will definitely include Amazon in it.

With so much achievements and such brilliant success, there is surely a lot you can learn from Jeff’s leadership principles.

Whenever you want to learn from the team Bezos practices, you can always read this article. Once you have read it, it’s always a good idea to reflect on it. See how you can implement the teachings from his leadership practices in your own business.

If you liked this article, consider sharing it with a friend interested in leadership or entrepreneurship. They will surely learn a lot from Jeff Bezos’ leadership style and feel more motivated. Better yet, you can look at how billionaire Elon Musk runs his empire and learn from him, too.

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