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Leading is the third element in the management process, one of the management core
functions. Leading accomplished by managers by inspiring, communicating, encouraging and
motivating employees of a company towards a higher level of productivity so that they
contribute themselves to the achievement of the mission & goals of the organization. Managers
also may pursue to increase the productivity of employees and processes continuously to move
the organization forward. Through continuous improvement efforts, managers can steer
businesses into the future.

Based on the contingency leadership theory, this assignment analyses the strategies of
leadership style of Tencent founder and CEO, Pony Ma Huateng and observes the influence of
his leadership style evolution on Tencent culture. Under Ma Huateng’s leadership, the
leadership style changed from transaction leadership to transformational leadership. Ma
Huateng has built Tencent through transformational leadership behaviours, including his vision
of continuous innovation, encouragement of experimentation, and modelling that innovative
spirit. This leadership style shaped Tencent's market/hierarchy orientation culture and
teamwork/innovation orientation culture respectively.

James MacGregor Burns (1978) first introduced the concept of transformational

leadership in his descriptive research on political leaders. He defined transformational
leadership as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social systems
(Kotlyar and Karakowsky, 2007). In its ideal form, it empower positive change in the followers
with the end goal of developing followers into leaders. The full range of leadership introduces
four elements of transformational leadership: individualized consideration, intellectual
stimulation, inspirational motivation and idealized influence.

First of all, Ma Huateng apply the intellectual stimulation strategies which encourage
creativity among followers/employees. He encourages their employees to keep on explore new
ways of doing tasks and new opportunities to learn. As a result, Tencent’s employees tend to
use their creativity in performing their jobs and this leads to invention on variety interest,
including video games, live streaming, karaoke, sports and others. According to venture
capitalist Mary Meeker, Chinese users collectively spend 1.7 billion hours a day on Tencent
apps, more than they spend on all other apps combined. Besides that, more than two-thirds of
Chinese people use its two messaging apps, WeChat and QQ, for everything from texting to
shopping, dating, watching videos, playing games, and ordering food and taxis. This shows the
success of Ma Huateng in his transformation leadership.

Next, Ma Huateng always support his employees by trusting them and giving them
inspirational motivation. He have a clear vision that he able to articulate to employees and help
them experience the same passion and motivation to fulfil these goals. Under his leadership,
numerous talks and speeches were held to motivate his employees because he knows that
employee’s motivation and performance are key factors in moving a business forward. He
always remind his employees that “The leader of the market today may not be necessary be the
leader tomorrow”, so they must keep updated themselves with the advanced technology to
become a cut above the rest. Besides that, he also used monetary rewarding as another type of
motivations. Under this strategy, new ideas often come from the bottom up and they will be
rewarded from 500 yuan for redesigning an interface to 1 million yuan for more significant

In conclusions, Ma Huateng, the transformational leader of Tencent serve as a role

model for his employees because they trust and respect him. Under Ma Huateng leadership,
the employees stay motivated, inspired and able to improve the performance of the organization
and work together towards achieving the organizational goals.

Kotlyar, I., & Karakowsky, L. (2007). Falling Over Ourselves to Follow the Leader.
Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1, 38-49