Cricket taught me important leadership lessons, says Microsoft CEO

February 21, 2014 04:34 pm | Updated November 26, 2021 10:25 pm IST - New York

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Inc.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Inc.

Playing in his school’s cricket team taught him important lessons on leadership and teamwork early in life, Microsoft’s new India-born CEO Satya Nadella has said.

The 46-year-old Hyderabad native, who was named Microsoft’s third Chief Executive Officer earlier this month, attributes leadership qualities such as building confidence in his team to the lessons he learned while playing cricket.

“I played on my school’s cricket team, and there was one incident that just was very stunning to me,” Nadella told the New York Times when asked about some of the early leadership lessons for him.

He recounted that he was a bowler and was not performing well one day. But his team’s captain did not lose faith in him and gave him another chance, teaching him an important lesson in building confidence in people.

“The captain took over from me and got the team a breakthrough, and then he let me take over again. I never asked him why he did that, but my impression is that he knew he would destroy my confidence if he didn’t put me back in.”

“And I went on to take a lot more wickets after that. It was a subtle, important leadership lesson about when to intervene and when to build the confidence of the team. I think that is perhaps the No. 1 thing that leaders have to do: to bolster the confidence of the people you’re leading,” Mr. Nadella said.

Mr. Nadella has previously described cricket as his “passion” saying that playing the sport taught him more about working in teams and leadership and that knowledge has stayed with him throughout his career.

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