Knowing the Secrets Behind Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Style
Talk show host, American media proprietor, actress, producer, businesswoman and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey has several titles attached to her name, all of which comes with great responsibilities which she breezes through impressively. So it is no surprise that she is also one of the most powerful and influential women in the world, someone who affect change in a positive way and inspire others at the same time. These traits also make her a great leader. In a report in Forbes, it is said that she has been known to rely on a “leadership philosophy that prioritizes people, vision and values”. So, if you are looking for a leader to emulate, Oprah Winfrey is an ideal choice.

Her achievements today would not have been possible if she was not equipped with the right characteristics, strengths and weaknesses.

  • She is open to new experiences, which is evident in many of the titles and roles that she play. What is even better is that she owns them all.
  • She is conscientious in everything that she does, exercising fairness to others.
  • She cares about others beyond her circle, which is why she set up charitable organizations that garnered here the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civil honor in America.

In her shows, millions of viewers can clearly see her energy, outgoing personality, positivity, encouragement, and her awareness about other people.

Based on leadership evaluation, Oprah Winfrey is a transformational leader who rules by inspiring others. She has the charisma and confidence to influence other people. Transformational leadership is covered in four components:

1. Inspirational motivation – Ability to inspire followers through motivation and by clearly expressing high expectations to them.

2. Individualized consideration – Ability to listen carefully and consider individual concerns of each follower.

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3. Idealized influence – Attracts attention and admiration while inspiring and influencing others at the same time.

4. Intellectual stimulation – Encourages followers to be creative and innovative.

Here is a look at Oprah Winfrey’s leadership style.

1. She strategically selects members of her team.

A true leader acknowledges the fact that success need not be a solo endeavor. When forming a team, however, Oprah Winfrey only hires and supports talented people that she believes in. Dr. Oz, Suze Orman and Liz Dolan are just some of the people that she surrounds herself with. The benefits work two ways – they boost her brand and they get wide exposure in return. Working with one of the world’s powerful women is not too bad either.

2. She values excellent mentorship.

According to biographer Kitty Kelley, Oprah credits her initial success with her long-term partnership with lawyer Jeff Jacobs. He was one crucial factor, that is. She also made it a point to build mentor relationships with industry experts, especially during her earlier years. This only shows that it is wrong to think that leaders only lead. They need guidance too from trusted mentors and industry insiders. So anyone who claims they don’t need anyone’s advice and input to perform their duties is not a true leader.

3. She values her customers.

In the business world, clients bring in the profit. Without them, a company would fail, which is why excellent customer service is a top priority. Oprah recognizes this and shows her appreciation to her viewers by giving them generous gifts, and studio audience get so lucky, especially during the holidays or even when there is no particular occasion. She can be very extravagant too. More than the gifts, however, she also listens to them and even integrates them in her shows. Gifts and an ear who listens would make anyone wish they can be one of Oprah’s studio audience.

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4. She strategically extends her brand.

What started out as a brand in television, branched out into radio, magazines, movies, subsidiary TV shows, and then an entire network. She made all these happen by extending her brand strategically. Because of this strategy, Oprah Winfrey is not only a celebrity, but also a tycoon.

But there is one important leadership trait that transformational leaders share, they are focused on the one thing they have mastery and expertise over. While she may seem to be everywhere, she is focused on one area – media, with the exception of charity works. Media is where she excels at, which is why she concentrated on it and worked to have dominance over it.

5. She takes care of her employees.

If customers bring in the profit, employees are the lifeblood of a company. They make the wheels turn, so business operation goes smoothly. As a way of thanking them for their efforts, Oprah has been known to lavish her team praises and vacations. She even give handpicked gifts to top staff members. Who doesn’t want a leader like that?

It would not be hard to imagine the efforts that her staff put in to ensure she succeeds, which definitely works to her advantage.

6. She dreams big.

Most successful people have big dreams and goals that they worked hard to see through. Oprah is no different. Although she came from nothing, she managed to find a platform to build herself on and succeeded. She always believed that she can turn her dreams into a reality and, with confidence in her abilities, she found the ultimate success – from talk show host to owner of an entire network.

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7. She clearly communicates her visions.

Remember inspirational motivation? Oprah Winfrey definitely has this particular characteristic. She not only dreams up a vision, but also communicates it with her team with clarity and then inspires them to help her see it through. Motivating her staff comes naturally for her, and this is one ability that is often considered the best in her list of best leadership practices.

8. She cares for the community.

Her dedication to her charitable works and foundation is a testament to Oprah’s social conscience. It also made her one of those people who is lauded for her positivity, self-improvement and charity. Such traits allow her to gain and sustain loyalty from her followers and from the community.

Lead like Oprah Winfrey and you are likely to write your own success story.


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