Steve Ballmer isn’t a graceful man, but there’s no disputing that he’s passionate. Ballmer is able to get people excited with his enthusiasm (and sweat), which is part of the reason why he’s leading the way at Microsoft right now.
In an interview with the New York Times, Ballmer was asked what the hardest part of his job is. He replied, “Finding the right balance between optimism and realism. I’m an optimist by nature, and I start from the belief that you can always succeed if you have the right amount of focus combined with the right amount of hard work.”
“So I can get frustrated when progress runs up against issues that should have been anticipated or that simply couldn’t have been foreseen,” he added. “A realist knows that a certain amount of that is inevitable, but the optimist in me always struggles when progress doesn’t match my expectations.”
Those who have seen Ballmer’s presentations or listened to his interviews know that the man likes to talk and think fast, often throwing in bold statements. Everyone knows that he’s good at the talking bit, but he’s working on becoming a better listener. How? By slowing down his brain, of course.
“My brain races too much, so even if I’ve listened to everything somebody said, unless you show that you’ve digested it, people don’t think they are being well heard. Sometimes you really don’t hear because you’re racing,” the Microsoft CEO admitted. “It’s just the way my brain works. My brain is just chop, chop, chop, chop, chop.”
Steve Ballmer has been at Microsoft for 29 years now, but what would he be doing if he hadn’t met Bill Gates?
“Education, probably. I like working with young people, and I think it’s really important to encourage talent,” said Ballmer. “I love basketball, so I could see myself as a high school basketball coach. I think a basketball team that I coached would have a really good chance of being a winner.”