Leadership is defined as a person being able to successfully get others to follow them. Leaders are those who are willing to take risk and inspire and empower those around them to do great things. Empowerment has become a concept that has been at the forefront in research on group leadership it has had a significant impact on the definition of leadership. In today’s society leadership plays a vital role in the outcome of everything. The fast pace society that we currently live in many people strive to acquire leadership roles on their jobs, in church and social organization and definitely in society.
Questions that are constantly raised include what makes an ideal leader, what attributes should one possess in order to be effective in a leadership role? For those currently in leadership roles that display poor leadership qualities, the great question is what can be done to assist them with improving their leadership skills. Good leadership starts at the top and is very essential to the success and effectiveness of any organization. To be effective and successful in a leadership role one must be willing to have transparent conversations with those that they lead.
Effective leadership affects all those that one leads. In a recent article entitled “11 Leadership attributes that are critical in Leadership Development” to be successful the author Carrington outlines eleven qualities that are critical for a good leader to have they are as follows: •Unwavering Courage •Self-Control •A keen sense of justice •Definiteness of decision •Definiteness of plans •The habit of doing more than paid for •A pleasing personality •Sympathy and Understanding •Mastery of derail •Willingness to assume full responsibility •Cooperation
Good leaders are not cocky but display a real confident attitude. The unwavering courage of a leader is more self-evident in the time of crisis (Carrington, 2009). THE ROLE OF LEADERSHIP ON ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE While many individuals race to apply for open positions that will place them in a leadership role the individuals must be willing to fully examine themselves to see if they possess the above listed qualities. Bob Mason states in his article “How to Define Personal Values” that defining personal values is one of the first steps in learning to lead (Mason, 2010).
An effective leader plans how they will get to know their staff they will supervise, what tone they desire to set in the building and set attainable goals they wish to achieve followed with a full outlined plan in the direction they will continue to move in their leadership tenure. Although Alan Mulally had no prior experience in engineering, designing or building cars when was hired at Ford. Mulally was hired as CEO of Ford in 2006 after arriving at the company he devised a plan and identified goals, he put in place a management system to move the company towards meeting the goals.
John Di Frances outlines in his article “The Six Essential Leadership Attributes” how leaders must set high standards for themselves and those who will follow them. Di Frances clearly states “Leadership is a high calling and responsibility, upon which all else the organization is or does rest” (Di Frances, 2005). MULALLY’S LEADERSHIP STYLE AT FORD “Alan’s style is pretty relentless,” says chief financial officer Lewis Booth (Hellriegel/Slocum, pg 543). When Mulally arrived at Ford the company was on the verge of a financial collapse, he decided to borrow $23 billion against Ford’s assets which was not easy to take on more debt.
Mulally made the decision to take on more debt so that the company could maintain its independence and be in a position to say not to government loans. When a person assumes a leadership role great planning has to occur before they arrive for their first day on the job as a leader. Before arriving at Ford Mulally studied Ford as he if was preparing to take an exam. He conducted interviews with the employees and complied typed notes in five binders which allowed him to develop a strategy about the auto industry which now drives all his decisions.
Mulally operates from McGregor’s Theory Y leadership model. Theory Y is based on a set of beliefs that managers take an empowering approach to management (Hellriegel/Slocum, pg 299). Alan Mulally holds meetings each Thursday will every functional discipline on his team he believes that everybody in the place has to be involved and know everything. Prior to his arrival at Ford only six or seven people were reporting directly to Bill Ford. Successful leadership requires a person to be a motivator, planner, and listener and very innovative, Alan Mulally fits the description of each of these attributes.
Under Mulally’s leadership Ford has made some strategic moves. MULALLY’S GOAL SETTING AT FORD Successful leaders are results oriented; when they achieve one goal, they seek another (Hellriegel/Slocum, pg 297). When Mulally arrived at Ford his first order of business was to set goals that would integrate the company globally. As a result of Mulally’s goals Ford has been able to separate itself from GM and Chrysler its major competitors. He looked at the product line upon his arrival and found out that from his senior leaders that they had stopped making the Ford Taurus.
Mulally instructed the team to find a car to put the Taurus name on it and told them they had two years to develop the coolest vehicle that could possibly make. In 2010 the Ford Taurus re-entered the Ford car lineup and was delivered to Ford Showrooms, this is the first new model to bear his vision. MULALLY’S COMMUNCIATION Effective leaders must be effective listeners and most of all lifelong learners in order to gain the continued knowledge that is needed in order to be a great leader. Communication is a priority for Mulally, he feels that everyone must know the plan, its status and the area that will require special attention.
Mulally’s openness has won him support throughout the organization (Hellriegel/Slocum, pg, 544). He developed weekly meetings where he does not allow Blackberry’s and no side bar conversations. In the meeting he encourages open and honest communication initially the atmosphere was not as honest but after Mullany made the statement about the company’s prior year financial lost the communications in the meeting loosened up and honesty showed up. In one meeting Mulally applauded one employee for his honesty and clear visibility.
As a result of Mulally’s open communication the employees now know that if something in the company is off track they just have to identifying it and resolve it. Not only is Alan Mulally a great verbal communicator he has proven to be an effective written communicator as well through his development his one page summary ‘Alan’s Leadership”. He encourages cohesiveness and unity among his staff. Alan also created plastic goal cards so to let everyone know what was on his mind. As a result of Alan’s demand for open communication there are no longer any secrets at Ford Motor Company. EFFECTIVENESS OF MULALLY’S LEADERSHIP STYLE
Effective leadership depends as much on the acceptance of influence by the follower as on the leader’s providing it (Hellriegel/Slocum, pg. 291). Alan Mulally has a proven track record for being a successful leader. He is a very driven person and has gained the support of those he leads by his infectious energy and ability to be open. Open, honest communication is a major part of his leadership style which is an essential component for effective leaders. Alan is a person who reflects confidence, discipline and a true desire to win. He is totally what good leadership should be. REFERENCES Carrington, S.
(2009, May 30). “Leadership Attributes that are Critical in Leadership Development to be Successful. ” retrieved from www. ezinearticles. com November 10, 2011 Di Frances, J. (2005). “The Six Essential Leadership Attributes” retrieved from www. difrances. com/articles/six_essential_leadership_attributes on November 10, 2011 Hellriegel, D. , and Slocum, J. W. , Jr. (2011). Organizational Behavior; 2001 custom edition (13th ed). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning Mason, B. (2010, February 25) “How to Define Personal Values” retrieved from www. planleadexcel. com on November 10, 2011.