Jack Ma is the founder and CEO of Alibaba, one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in the world. This Chinese businessman is the wealthiest man in his home country, a philanthropist as well as entrepreneur, and one of the most influential people in the world of global commerce. I have selected this leader because I am fascinated with his transformational leadership skills, and I hope one day to be able to inspire people in a similar way. Up until now, I had seen a friend of mine successfully graduate from a prestigious Music School, an idea I introduced them to when we were together in a band as teens.
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Transformational leadership requires abilities that allow the leader to recognize the need for change, to create a leadership vision to guide that change through inspiration and to execute the change effectively together with the delegates and other members of the company. The leader’s personality traits allow them to become a role model for the followers, and to make change through example, motivating others to take on challenging goals.
When Jack Ma founded Alibaba in 1999, he was a humble English teacher who has failed several math exams in his life and had but a user’s knowledge of the Internet. Recognizing the market’s need for a domestic e-commerce platform, he started Alibaba working from his home with the help of friends and a small starting capital. Transforming smaller companies, Taobao or AliExpress among them, into bigger ones, he proves that tenacity is key to success. Most importantly, a leader must empower the followers to become better than himself. Therefore, though he has never studied at Harvard, he is a frequent speaker at the institution to a great acclaim. It is this Jack Ma’s leadership vision of humility that inspires me the most.