Leadership is the practical skill that encompasses the capability of an individual to lead or guide other individuals for achieving a set goal. Many schools of opinions define leadership as the process of social influence that enable an individual to support and aid others for accomplishing a task. Leadership makes up an important element of the global economy as a contributing factor for the success of organizations. Different organizations across the globe are increasingly becoming flourishing due to the leadership style their leaders abide by (Du et al. 2013). The present essay is aimed at analyzing the leadership styles of three leaders who are famous for the leadership style they exhibit. The three leaders selected for the assignment are Bob MacDonald, Ursula Burns and Jeff Bezos. The leadership styles of these leaders are analyzed with the reference to the leadership concepts like the psychology of leadership, ethics and evolution of leadership, leadership theories and multi-cultural leadership. The essay compares and contrasts the leaders and presents an argument for which leader exhibits the most effective leadership style in the contemporary globalized economy.
Ursula Burns is the chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporation. She started her career in 1980 as an intern in Xerox Corporation and held many leadership posts in corporate services. She is the first Black-American woman CEO to lead the Fortune 500 Company. She is rated as the world’s 22nd most powerful woman by Forbes in 2014 (Ndubuizu and Britton 2016). She helped to transform the company from global leader to world’s most diversified business company in document technology. Her leadership and management spearheaded the Xerox Corporation to be one of the leading in business process services and leader in market share industry.
Ursula Burns lead a workforce of 140,000 employees and serve clients in more than 160 companies. She has unique leadership skills, styles and a deep sense of industry experience made her the global leader in document outsourcing and management. The power of communication, culture, vision, people, customer and leadership are the leadership lessons that made her a successful leader (Hughes 2015). Ursula shared that successful communication is a must that is built being straightforward and being honest. The power of culture will help a business to succeed by strengthening the teamwork, diversity and good times and by changing the bad things. The power of vision by making the employees aim, help them exceed forward and reach the highest success. She believes that when the people are aligned and projected towards a common objective and goal that leads to success defining the power of people. A customer-centric service is the power of the customer. Finally, the most important power is the value of leadership that is indispensable and by being honest, consistent and forceful a leader would help the company to reach the heights of success.
According to Ursula Burns, a successful leader should have leadership traits (Bennis and Goldsmith 2013). Firstly, a leader should be authentic in style and management. A leader should be empathetic towards their employees, measure the objectives and outcomes in making decisions and work in the direction of success. She said that listening and trusting the employees is the key to her success and helped her to become an efficient leader. She is straightforward and blunt in her speech and is directed towards the company’s priorities and its success. She is authentic and self-aware and her personality seems to reverberate well with her employees and the business world. She is a great example of a non-egocentric, self-believing and serving leader thinking that the company is all about her employees. She has a perfect balance of humility and self-confidence.
Ursula Burns believes in ethical conduct. The leadership style of ethical conduct has both positive and negative effects on the company as a whole. She said that ethical values are the backbone of a company that helps people to connect to the core values and in understanding one’s responsibilities. If a company manifests low integrity and ethical lapses, then the company would have a corrupted working environment. She adopted a multi-cultural leadership for developing a diverse environment that promotes cross-culture interaction and enhanced the productivity of the company. As the CEO of Xerox Corporation, she believes that multi-cultural leadership strategy would help to cultivate diversity, trust and growth of a company (Madsen and Ngunjiri 2015). The concept of aligning and engaging people towards a common goal would make the employees passionate and successful.
She has a unique informal leadership style where her special skills have made her influential in meeting the demands of others. She is a true leader in achieving the support of her employees makes her sort out in the global economy world called interpersonal leadership style (Hughes 2014). She follows a value-based leadership where she communicates well with her employees, organizes groups, and defines roles in creating a well structured working environment. Burns is considered as the right CEO and chairman of Xerox Corporation as her leadership style is appropriate for the company. She confirms stability because of her straight forward attitude. She stays focused and works hard for achieving the goals of the company. She has a great quality of risk taking, problem solving and crisis management. She identifies, analyzes and finds solution to solve the encountered problems. Her leadership approach at Xerox encompasses a good strategy, better communication and generation of followership that helped her to lead at Xerox Corporation (Rao 2016). These leadership styles and qualities of Ursula Burns an efficient leader and made Xerox Corporation as one of the leading computer service providers in the software world.
Bob McDonald is the retired Chairman, President and CEO of Procter and Gamble Company. He led the company from 2009 to 2013 and under his leadership; P&G expanded and developed the market footprint, adding a billion consumers (Lawrence 2013). The company has more than 120,000 employees, 120 plants and about 200 brands in 35 categories. P&G is recognized for its leadership style and diversity. The company is named twice as the best company by Chief Executive Magazine and best company for Leadership Study by Hay Group’s Best Company. It also received many awards for its diversity and for environmental and social sustainability work.
Bob follows value based leadership beliefs that has inspired the lives of countless people (Kucia and Gravett 2014). He is very passionate about helping others and in shaping their lives. His aim is to improve the lives of the people and he worked in improving billion of lives through the P&G products. He works to have a positive impact on the people he meets on a daily basis. In the process of fulfilling his desire of helping others, he led the Mc Donald Cadet Leadership Conference that encompassed the bright young minds from universities, business leaders, NGOs and governmental organizations in the creation of an active learning environment. He also received the Leadership Excellence Award from the U.S. Naval Academy and Harvard Business Review and was also honored with President’s Leadership Award. He mentioned that it is the job of a leader to understand the dreams of the employees and work for enabling its fulfillment. It is the responsibility of a leader to create a team who are aimed to be successful and aspire to be a part of a winning team.
Bob’s leadership beliefs proved him as the best global business leader. He believes that having a clear vision, perspectives and set of values makes the best leader. He believes in value-based leadership that encompasses culture, education, experiences, family and organizational memberships (Vasudha and Sathyanarayan 2014). He says that it is important that every individual or organization should get in touch with their culture, education, experiences, family heritage and organizational memberships that would help an individual to develop their set of value-based beliefs. Bob’s leadership values are unique that proved successful for the P&G employees. Bob said that every employee should act as a leader and that would lead to the accomplishment of the company’s goals and desired success.
Bob also follows multi-cultural leadership style as P&G is well known for its diversity. He believes that people from different cultural backgrounds are more innovative in nature rather than the homogenous groups. A better diverse group is able to make diverse connections and draw innovation. An efficient leader of a diverse group helps to create a connective and collaborative working environment. He laid great emphasis on the integrity of the employees and establishment of trust that would help to build an efficient company. He said that when the people are put into right kind of jobs, it forms great leaders. He said character is the most vital trait in a leader (Kucia and Gravett 2014). It is important for a leader to think about the organization first defined as the Level Five Leadership. He believes that ineffective cultures and systems are the biggest barriers in the path of achievement.
McDonald is very empathetic towards his employees. He stays in contact with his former employees to show his care for them. It is the responsibility of a leader to help people find their dreams (Tichy 2014). He believes that organization should renew itself in order to ensure growth. The people are the ones who create can bring about change. After his retirement, he said that the true test of a leader is the performance of the organization in his or her absence. It is the company’s responsibility to hold the culture, system and strategies even after the departure of the leader. He also said that one should choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong. He pointed that the easy thing is usually considered the wrong thing. The value-based leadership adopted by Bob McDonald made him a successful Chairman and CEO of P&G and had set an example for the upcoming leaders.
Jeff Bezos is an American technology entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of Amazon.com are known for his leadership styles and philanthropy. Amazon has become the world's largest online shopping retailer, making the leadership style of Jeff Bezos a topic of debate in the context of global economy. Economists have tried to explore the leadership style exhibited by Jeff and link it to the growth and wellbeing of the company. Valuable conclusions are drawn from such analysis that aims to guide future leaders in making a mark in their respective fields (Stone 2013). According to Biraghi, Gambetti and Quigley (2017), Jeff Bezos is a transactional leader whose is highly tasked oriented. The authors describe Bezos to be a micromanager who has rigorous standards and is infamous for having no interest in other people’s views and opinions. This is termed as transactional leadership. As opined by Antonakis and House (2014) transactional leaders make an influence since the subordinates need to do what the leaders want as their best interest. Transactional leaders are also known to be much effective in accomplishing their operational goals and reach desirable outcomes. The businesses are created in such a manner that they are competent enough to establish itself in the times of global competition. Apart from being a transactional leader, Bezos as the Amazon head can also be called an agent for change who constantly strives to bring innovation in his work and the company (Collinson and Tourish 2015). The authors find that the form of leadership that delivers follower ingenuity and constructs extraordinary results are transformational leadership. Transformational leaders are famous for creating a clear vision of the near future, gaining minds and hearts of the people. Transformational leaders have a commitment towards the mission and vision of the company and drive team effort to cross ordinary potentials. Bezos has undoubtedly graded high in this particular aspect, tagging himself to be a transformational leader. His transformational leadership is witnessed from the growth of the company that is a suitably the result of the ability of Bezos to inspire, innovate and envision in situations when stakeholders have little faith in his creation to bring profitability to the company Amazon (Schneper et al. 2013).
Schoemaker and Krupp (2015) highlight the relationship between Bezos’ leadership style and the growth of Amazon.com. His transformational leadership style has led Amazon to attain the highest peak of growth achieved by it in the last decade. The company has achieved much success from being an online book store to an online retail store challenging other competitors in the same field due to commitment and visionary focus of Bezos. Therefore the hunger for innovation and change exhibited by Bezos can be termed as a significant leadership quality resulting in massive revenues and a strong customer base. De Cremer (2013) contradicts the leadership style of Bezos and argues that his transactional leadership style has not been positive.
The transactional leadership qualities have led to a stressful environment to work in for the employees. The employees have often reported having not being well positioned. A school of thoughts also emphasize on the fact that Bezos have unrealistic goals and expansion plans. It is due to attempts made for this unrealistic goal that employees have a dislike towards the leadership style shown. Amazon has high ranking for having an inflexible and stressful working environment. Second highest turnover for employees is also recorded for the company's employee. Workers have cited that persistent issue that Bezos is always opinionated and rebukes them. He has often found to challenge the employees stating that he is the owner of the company. It is therefore argued that transactional leadership style makes the employees unsatisfied regarding the working condition. Kantor and Streitfeld (2015) argue that the huge losses that the company incurs despite the sales growth and revenue are due to the hunger for more expansion of the company that has an existing gargantuan portfolio. The loss can be said to be the direct impact of the will of Bezos to expand the company by any possible means. Pfeffer (2015) state that Bezos needs to slow down the characteristics of transformational leadership and permit Amazon to have more profits instead of bringing expansion of the company. It would be beneficial for the company if Bezos tones down the transactional leadership qualities for making the working environment friendlier as well as flexible.
All the three leaders are efficient in their leadership qualities and styles. They have proved to be successful leaders and have scaled the heights of success. Among the leaders, Ursula Burns serving as the Chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporation has proved to be an eminent leader and a successful business woman. She is the first African-American woman to lead a trading company that is largely featured and have succeeded in featuring among the world’s list of most influential women CEOs (Jeong and Harrison 2016). Her leadership style has proved to be a good role model. She has developed a reputation at Xerox Corporation as a customer-oriented agent and a technologically focused woman.
According to the analysts, Ursula managed the company well during the period of crisis and made transitions at Xerox (Khurana 2013). She turned the company in meeting the revenue goals and restructured the business parts to boost sales. She helped Xerox to become the world’s larger color printer maker and in strengthening the business model making it a profitable and competent organization.
Similarly, Bob McDonald is a successful leader and his value based leadership made him an eminent businessman in marketing and sales of P&G products. After he joined as the CEO of P&G in 2009, arguments arose regarding his job position and capability. His leadership helped the company by buying Gillette posing a major presence of P&G in the men market. He expanded P&G in emerging markets and this was the first push by McDonald as a CEO (Lafley and Martin 2013). However, P&G was unable to make success due to high price of the commodities for the middle-class customers. Bob had little resources and time while introducing the products in the emerging markets.
Due to high cutting prices of the P&G products, Bob and the company suffered problems in the global market. Analysts said that in order to launch every product in the emerging market, the company ran out of ammo (Reimer 2015). The annual employee survey showed flat numbers in business leaders, negative feedback from the HR and after constant buzzing, Mc Donald decided to retire from his position.
Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com. He is known for his leadership styles and philanthropy. His leadership style is a topic of debate in the global economy. He is a highly task oriented person and is infamous for not respecting others opinions. He is a micromanager with rigorous standards. This transactional leadership style makes a person competent in achieving desires in the global economy (D'Andrea 2014). He is also a transformational leader who has clear vision and mind. This leadership made him scale heights for Amazon. However, the transactional leadership qualities have created a stressful working environment. He has unrealistic goals that made him unpopular and dislike his leadership style. He is opinionated and the continuous hunger for revenue expansion has made the company to face huge losses.
From the above-detailed analysis of the leadership styles, among the three leaders, Ursula Burns has the most effective leadership style in the in the contemporary globalized economy. Her leadership lessons of power of communication, culture, vision, people, customer and leadership has made her successful woman CEO. Her authentic management style, empathetic attitude, determined and self-confidence has led her to succeed in the globalized economy market (Merriman 2017). She is a tough competitor for the rivals, adaptive, technologically sound in solving issues, transparent, conceptualized and most importantly far-sighted. He makes people comfortable with science, innovation and technology so that people provide a consistent and collaborative environment. Her idea of innovation made her success in the global marketplace (DeFillippi, Dumas and Bhatia 2014). She followed Normative Model with Path-Goal theory in which team performance and effort are enhanced through autonomy and collaboration (Scholz 2013). She is a strong, outspoken leader with the blunt speech focused on customer satisfaction and technology oriented. These leadership styles have made Ursula Burns a successful leader and hold a prestigious position in the global economy.
From the above analysis on leadership styles of three leaders, it can be concluded that leadership makes a huge impact on the functioning of organizations and how the employees make a contribution towards the growth and expansion of the organizations. The leadership styles of Bob McDonald as well as Ursula Burns have been appraised greatly for their effectiveness in their respective fields. However, the leadership style of Jeff Bezos has been criticized for making a negative impact on his workforce. The analysis of the leadership styles brings about the inference that value-based leadership is the best-suited leadership style for organizations whereas transactional leadership style is not desirable. Leaders must have a thorough knowledge of pros and cons of the different leadership styles in order to establish their organizations as frontrunners in the context of the globalized economy. Suitable leadership would pave the path to success and make the organizations emerge as winners.
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