Amazon Jeff Bezos is a true authentic leader, and as you watch the embedded clip, you will see why. Bezos has a sense of humor and seems humble to offer viewers, in his video, how Amazon became successful. Bezos talks about “everything he knows, which is a short list,” as he flips through pages of a presentation display board. First, his company “obsesses over customers.” Bezos explains that they have been doing it from the very beginning. They always put customers first, and when given the choice of obsessing over customers or competitors, they obsess over customers. They pay attention to their competitors, but that is not where they put their energy and not where they get their motivation from. Bezos insists that obsessing over customers is the key to working out a lot of errors. The second thing he knows is “invent,” meaning that whenever they have a problem, they try to work out a problem by inventing a solution. The third is “long term,” when it comes to customers, they think long term relationship; and lastly “It’s always Day 1,” which refers to keeping the momentum up. Now that we know where Bezos is coming from in terms of customer service, his leadership style has been described below, as authentic (Hilimere, 2013).
As most have learned from the news, Bezos purchased the Washington Post and to put Post employees at ease, Bezos wrote a letter to the Washington Post addressing the legacy, leadership, staff and customers of The Post, which is authenticity at best. The letter begins with “Many of you will greet it [his purchase] with a degree of apprehension. When a single family owns a company for many decades, and when that family acts for all those decades in good faith, in a principled manner, in good times and in rough times, as stewards of important values – when that family has done such a good job – it is only natural to worry about change.” He continues with assuring his new employees that it is critical to him that their values of “The Post” do not need to be changed. “We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we’ll work hard not to make mistakes. When we do, we will own up to them quickly and completely.”
Bezos was not required to write a letter to his new employees, though, I believe he genuinely wanted to make sure his new employees felt confident that he understood their concerns. As he remains CEO of Amazon, Bezos addresses that issue as well by stating, “I won’t be leading The Washington Post day-to-day. I am happily living in ‘the other Washington’ where I have a day job that I love. Besides that, The Post already has an excellent leadership team that knows much more about the news business than I do, and I’m extremely grateful to them for agreeing to stay on.” To provide insight where he wants to see “The Post” heading, Bezos makes the employees aware that over the course of the coming years, there will be changes. He stresses that the Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business, and that changes will chart its path ahead, which may not be easy. He asserts, “Together, we will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment” (Bezos, 2013).
In our commentary, we discussed the dimensions beginning with “purpose” (which seems to be the most important), followed by values, relationships, self-discipline, and heart. Each one is tied to a characteristic, and further describes Bezos and his approach when addressing the new employees during the transition period.
Bezos exhibited an interpersonal method to authentic leadership in that he is expressed interest in building relationships with his [new] followers, and is willing to put forth the effort to make it happen. As we read Bezos’ letter, there is also an intrapersonal quality that tells us what is going on inside his head. His true self-knowledge, self-regulating behavior is an accurate reading that reflects self-concept matters (PSU, Lesson 12).
Although, one of the weaknesses of authentic leadership may be the connection between authentic leadership and positive organizational outcomes, as is has not yet been demonstrated, I find that Bezos began to show strengths in his ability as an authentic leader by addressing both the public and employee concern for trust in his leadership.
Hilimire, J. (2013). Begin the Begin. Retrieved from https://jeffhilimire.com/2013/08/why-jeff-bezos-bought-the-washington-post-and-why-hes-the-most-authentic-leader-going/
Bezos, J. (2013). Jeff Bezos on Post Purchase. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/jeff-bezos-on-post-purchase/2013/08/05/e5b293de-fe0d-11e2-9711-3708310f6f4d_story.html?utm_term=.643f2e30f18f
Penn State World Campus (n.d.). Leadership in Work Settings. [Commentary]. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1834747/modules/items/21827937