Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang's 'Demanding' Leadership Style Draws Mixed Reactions From Experts, Some Defend Its Effectiveness

NVIDIA Corp NVDA CEO Jensen Huang has been described as a “demanding” boss by his employees, a label he embraces. In a recent interview, Huang defended his leadership style, asserting that it takes a relentless approach to run a company of Nvidia’s magnitude.

What Happened: In a recent interview with “60 Minutes,” Huang’s employees at Nvidia’s Santa Clara headquarters characterized him as a “demanding” and “perfectionist” boss, reported CNBC on Monday.

Huang, who co-founded Nvidia in 1993, has no qualms about this portrayal, stating that “If you want to do extraordinary things, it shouldn’t be easy.”

Huang’s leadership style has previously sparked discussions. He has openly shared his unconventional management approach, which includes having 50 direct reports, a number significantly higher than the industry average of 10. Huang expects his senior executives to operate with minimal guidance and independence.

Experts believe that Huang’s resilience, shaped by his immigrant background, has been instrumental in Nvidia’s success. His task-oriented leadership style, influenced by his early life experiences, has been effective in challenging and motivating his employees.

However, some experts argue that Huang’s leadership style could be improved by incorporating more people-focused traits.

Wladislaw Rivkin, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Trinity Business School, explained that leaders in trillion-dollar valued companies often demonstrate cutthroat behavior, given the intense competition among tech companies at such high valuation levels.

Sankalp Chaturvedi, a professor of organizational behavior and leadership at Imperial College Business School, noted that Huang’s career in Silicon Valley has spanned more than three decades, which is unusual in the industry.

"I think taking care of people's wellbeing, recognizing people as people, and not just as workers, can be something that could be looked into," Rivkin said.

"All of us have 24 hours in a day and the more direct reports we have the harder it is to coordinate," said Chaturvedi. “I can tell you for sure that he must be struggling to manage that many direct reports. He's trying to control every bit of operations and not coordinate his strengths, and that's where the problem lies."

According to Rivkin, leading with a ruthless leadership style can be challenging for companies that struggle to attract talented employees, which is the case for many companies in the market. This difficulty arises because prospective employees with options tend to seek other opportunities rather than staying in such environments.

See Also: Amid Nvidia Craze, Jim Cramer Sees A Chip Stock ‘Not On Anyone’s Radar’ About To Break Out: Here’s What He Said

Why It Matters: Huang’s leadership style has been a topic of interest in the tech industry. His unapologetic approach to leadership is reminiscent of other tech titans like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, also known for their demanding nature. In a contrast to these leaders, Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates described himself as “very nice” compared to them, sparking a broader discussion on leadership styles in the technology sector.

Despite the debate surrounding his leadership style, Nvidia has continued to thrive under Huang’s guidance. The company’s stock has seen significant growth, reaching a $2 trillion valuation earlier this year. Huang’s unyielding leadership style has been credited with steering Nvidia through challenging times and maintaining its position as a leader in the tech industry.

Moreover, Huang’s predictions about the impact of AI on the job market have also been widely discussed. He believes that AI will create more high-earning job opportunities, offering a positive perspective on the future of work in the tech industry.

Read Next: Is Now The Right Time To Invest In Nvidia? Fund Managers Are Split: ‘One Of The Hardest Things I’ve Done’

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