Michael Dell as a Modern Leader

Essay by ipaluchUniversity, Master'sA+, May 2006

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If we look for role models and inspirations to guide us toward our dreams, we need look no further than Michael Dell. He started with nothing 15 years ago, built an empire, and created fantastic wealth for millions of people.


As we learn in Communication and Leadership class, there is a world of difference between managers and leaders. Managers want stability and control through procedures and systems. Leaders, on the other hand, thrive on change, exercise control through inspiring visions of what might be accomplished cooperatively and they understand that empowering people by extending and expanding their authority is the only path to vitality and sustained progress. One of the ways one can differentiate leadership from management is by this old saying: you lead people and you manage assets.

Leaders are pioneers. They challenge the process; they look for better ways to do things.

They also can get others to buy into their vision so that it becomes a shared vision that employees work towards together. Leaders, then, also create a culture that brings out the best in people, which enables them to act. Using Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, leaders appeal to the higher psychological needs by recognizing employees for a good job and by encouraging employees to fulfill their own potential.

Michael Dell challenged the processes used to sell computers to consumers. This was not the first time he did things differently; he began challenging the traditional processes when he was 8 years old. At this young age, Dell applied for a high school equivalency diploma. He had his first checkbook when he was 9. When he was 12, he conducted a nationwide stamp auction and realized a $2,000 net profit. He bought his first computer when he...