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. The case is divided into two parts first highlighting the success of Astro airline in spite of the rogue market. The other part deals with how a company that met success so fast fell apart because of its inability to manage its own success. When the charisma of a leader takes the shape of arrogance and inflexibility the team is destined to break and failure is unstoppable. Arthur Burton sets up a team of motivated staffs who share his vision and take the venture to immediate success. However he is so much blinded by the success he fails to implement necessary changes and ultimately the company files for bankruptcy. Questions 1. Describe Burton’s leadership behavior. Burton was a highly confident leader with ability to implant his vision into the hearts of his followers. His ability to associate his vision with the individual goals of the employees raised the Astro airlines to immediate success. With reference to the given case, Burton’s excellence was in his ability to communicate. He was an emotionally stirring speaker and he used his speeches to deepen his beliefs, ideas and principles into the hearts and in the lives of his followers. Arthur Burton is not only a charismatic leader but also a highly creative and innovative leader. He raised a company in the turbulent time with a distinct vision and eye on the existing opportunities. He believed in participation and teamwork. His commitment to equality, informality, participative leadership and self-management in the initial years helped develop a highly committed team who shared the vision of its chairman. He encouraged his managers to provide direction but not to dictate methods. It confirms his belief in motivation and participation. He encouraged continuous learning and emphasized in skill development of his employees. He could associate the organizational goal with the individual need of the Astro team. He expected his sub-ordinates to handle multiple jobs, be independent and be less entangled in bureaucratic hurdles. He must have been a great convincer for the employees carried out responsibilities as expected. They did their own jobs for example executives answered their own telephones and typed their own letters. He believed in taking challenges and he sought the same thing in his team. While choosing new employees he took special care in hiring young, enthusiastic employees who were willing to learn new jobs. The other competency that Burton had as a leader was his focus on customer service and quality. He took special efforts to offer fares that were much lower than those of competitors. He fostered the environment of innovation which reflects in the adoption of innovative scheduling and the installation of the innovative ticketing machines. 2. Was Burton a charismatic leader in the company at this time? Explain your answer. Burton was certainly a charismatic leader. Like any other charismatic leader he had the ability to communicate and behave in ways that reach followers on a basic, emotional way, to inspire and motivate. He was perceived as someone with an evangelical capability to strike an emotional chord with his listeners. He was highly capable of install his ideas, philosophy and vision into the minds of his listeners and also reinforce it. He had created an environment where everyone felt energetic and empowered. 1 | Astro Airlines
Sandip Timsina(09525) It was his ability to attract others with his ideas that he expressed through his impeccable oratory skills that inspired his employees. He inspired a shared vision, believed in delegation of authority. His commitment to building and sustaining team was undeterred. They had full belief in him and it was further reinforced when the company was able to achieve success in very short span of time. His major characteristics were his powerful ability of communicating a compelling vision of the future, he passionately believed in his vision, he relentlessly promoted his beliefs with boundless energy, he propounded created ideas, and he inspired extraordinary performance in followers. Burton was very passionate about his vision that he could make profit if he could make air transport affordable to the people who could not afford it. He always advocated his beliefs and reinforced it in his speeches. His speeches were emotionally arousing and they weaved the employees together to achieve a common goal. A charismatic leader has a capability to link people by a common goal, he makes them forget their individual needs and objectives, sacrifice their interest to work for the achievement of a common goal shown by the leader. Burton’s ideas were highly creative; his vision of air transport for all was indeed great. His management skills were equally creative, his ability to reduce cost by onsite ticketing, thin layer of hierarchy, and independent working were highly creative. It was due to his charisma that the employees felt highly motivated despite the fact that they got lesser salary than the industry average; they worked more and had no assistants. Burton had the confidence of his team despite getting salaries which were lower than normal for the airline industry their commitment to company was undeterred. It was his charisma that within three years of operation the company grew from a few hundred employees with three planes to more than 3,000 employees with 22 planes servicing 20 cities. 3. What dysfunctional aspects of charismatic leadership were displayed by Burton? Many times the charismatic leaders become megalomaniacs and they start believing that it is only because of them that the team has seen success. They become too much obsessed with their ability that they become highly arrogant. They start disrespecting others and becoming rigid on their beliefs. Burton displayed similar characteristics. After being able to gain success in a short span of time, Burton thought he had a Midas touch and whatever he does is destined to bring fortune. Eventually he became the victim of his own success. He became very stubborn. His equations with his team changed. The same employees who respected him were dissatisfied with him and even his belief in his own employees deterred in time. The tiff he had with the company president stands as a proof of his deterring trust on his own team. His employees began questioning Burton’s sincerity and accused him of being a manipulator. His unwillingness to hire a President had huge implications and his over-confidence made his company suffer. Though viewed as a charismatic leader initially he was started to be seen as an arrogant and authoritarian leader. His inability to understand others feeling led his highly energetic team of staffs to fall apart. His reluctance to understand the need of his employees and only putting his diktat ultimately led to the downfall of the company.
2 | Astro Airlines
Sandip Timsina(09525) When the airlines industry started to change Burton ignored as he was blindfolded by his over confidence and successful past. As with charismatic leadership styles people are more dependent on their leaders. Astro airlines followed the same fate, the employees could do nothing to help the company come out of the trouble. They only blamed Burton. In later years Burton became more of an authoritarian leader, too impulsive as his quick changes in strategies and vision suggest. He showed lesser accountability and was on a firing spree. He fired people who confronted him and who questioned his motives. His belief that he is infallible, led the team into an abyss. His excessive self-belief and his self-absorption or need for admiration led to his team to question his leadership.
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