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Discuss the role of leadership and how it can impact organizational performance.

The role of leadership is the act of motivating people toward reaching a common goal. Effective leaders possess the ability to understand the skills and passions of their employees and to integrate these skills in a collective goal. It is about providing the company with stability, drive, and plasticity. Effective leaders are driven by creating and completing goals as well as providing support and motivation to their employees to in order to achieve them. Problems of implementation are really issues about how leaders influence behavior, change the course of events, and overcome resistance. Leadership is crucial in implementing decisions successfully (Mills, 2005). The role of leadership is vital to an organizations performance and is often times the determining factor of whether or not a company succeeds. Countless companies have failed and continue to fail because of poor leadership. Leaders are individuals who set the tone for the company as a whole. If a leader possesses poor ethics and performance you can guarantee that the employees will do the same. A leader is in charge of implanting the companys ideas and values in the most effective way. Leadership skills can also help correct poor business practices or internal conflicts between employees (Vitez, 2010). Discuss Mulallys leadership style at Ford Motor Company and provide examples of how his actions fit this style. In 2006 without having ever engineered, designed, or built any cars himself, Alan Mulally an aeronautical engineer at Boeing, was hired as the CEO of Ford Motor Company. He came with a goal of getting Ford through the recession stronger than ever by focusing on becoming the best in class in fuel economy, car quality, safety, and value. In implanting his goals at Ford Alan Mulally has exhibited a leadership style of selling. According to the Situational Leadership Model when using a selling style of management the leader provides direction, encourages two way communication, and helps build confidence and motivation on the part of the follower (Hellriegel, Slocum, Slocum & Jr., 2010). Alan displayed this style when setting up his four specific goals and setting the general direction of becoming the best in class in quality, fuel efficiency, safety, and value. He is known for fostering communication within the company. Alan once stated Communicate, communicate, communicate..everyone has to know the plan (Hellriegel, Slocum, Slocum & Jr., 2010). An example of Alan supporting communication is his early Thursday morning meetings where he encourages every functional discipline on his team to be present and active in the discussion. This weekly meeting takes place around a large circular table that seats 18 executives. Not surprisingly Mulally sits in a seat labeled as the Pilots seat. With this set up communication is encouraged and each person is given equal right to participate. Mulally believes that the only way an issue can be resolved is to be honest by bringing it to the forefront. He has instituted a color code for reports in which green stands for good and red signifies problems. He has praised his managers for giving clear visibility and letting others know when they are facing problems instead of sweeping them under the rug. This in turn created motivation since his team knew that the problems were not only being presented but that together they could help find solutions.

Discuss how goal setting helped Ford improve its performance. The goal-setting model indicates that the goal directs the employees attention on what is pertinent; it regulates their effort and increases determination. Goal setting improves a corporations performance if effectively developed, put into practice and monitored. When Mulally stepped in as Fords CEO in September 2006 the company was in a financial crisis losing billions of dollars annually. Mulally evaluated the companys products and he decided to set goals that would make Ford the leader in the industry. He is making it Fords goal to compete in every market segment by providing high quality, affordable, energy efficient cars. Because of the increase in gas prices and environmentally friendly products he wants to move away from their reputation of only designing great trucks and has put a large focus on creating cars of all sizes. He is working hard to streamline Fords business ventures by selling off other brands such as the Jaguar so they can make the Ford name their focus. By creating and implanting these goals Mulally hopes that these moves will help Ford separate their brand image away from GM and Chrysler. In the case of the Ford Motor Company, these goals implemented by Alan Mulally, were vital to the success of the company. He put everyone on the same page by creating plastic cards with Fords four main goals on one side and an updated definition of the company on the other. The four goals include fostering functional and technical experience by having a passion for the business and demonstrating the technical and functional knowledge of the products. Own working together which includes having motivated and skilled people, respecting, encouraging, and working together. Role model Ford Values, which entails showing initiative, a good attitude, courage, integrity, and always working to improve quality, safety, and product sustainability. The fourth and final goal is to deliver results by setting high expectations, to inspire others, make reasonable decisions, and to hold themselves and others liable for delivering positive results to their customers. Mulallys One Ford initiative listed on the back of the cards united employees towards the attainment of a single overarching goal: An exciting viable Ford delivering profitable growth for all. Overall, the Ford Companys performance was improved by goal setting as the lines of communication were opened and employees knew what was expected of them and the company. Employees felt motivated by Mulallys selling leadership style and feel supported to achieve Fords goals. With this method employees are able to be more involved and committed to projects and care about the outcomes. Assess Mulally on each element in communication openness including message transmission, trust, agendas and goals. Mulally believes communication is vital to the success of the company. He insisted that everyone be involved in the decision making process for the company and be familiar with their future goals. Everyone had to know what the plan, its status, and the areas that need special attention (Hellriegel, Slocum, Slocum & Jr., 2010).

Mulally encourages information sharing and fosters trust through disclosing information about himself and the Company freely. His public summary of his own leadership abilities is an example of encouraging such openness. He works on opening the lines of communication between the executives in the company in their weekly Thursday meetings. He also demands of his employees weekly sometimes even daily status reports to keep everyone on the same page. Mulally has set up clear systems that keep himself and his team accountable to their plans. Every initiative and it's major tasks are color coded as green for on target, yellow for questionable and red for a problem (Eblin, 2009). He lets everyone know if his agenda and goals by using plastic cards with the four main company goals on the front and the expected behaviors from his employees on the back. With this detailed level of planning his employees feel that they are part of the success of the Ford Corporation and in turn this helps to increase employee morale, confidence, and loyalty. He doesnt attempt to mislead employees to promote his own agenda. Rather, his honesty and openness has won him the support and trust of employees, suppliers and investors (Taylor III, 2009).

Evaluate the effectiveness of Mulallys leadership style and recommend whether he should continue with this style, or use a different style. While we are still in a recession and overall car manufacturers sales are down I believe that Alan Mulallys has an effective leadership style that will pay off. Jim Jamieson, executive vice president of Boeing once stated about Mulally: "He is extraordinarily charismatic. He really believes in working togetherHe has a way of making people feel good about themselves"(Song, 2001). When faced with steering Ford out of the global recession Mulally once declared I am here to save an American and global icon (Taylor). And I believe his leadership style has the power to do just that. With his clear goals and selling leadership style Mulally has been able to shift the entire organization into thinking about streamlining and improving their performance. He has boosted employee morale and given Ford employees the encouragement and morale to keep working hard with the company. Year-to-date, Ford is the best-selling brand of vehicles in America with sales totaling 1,700,618 vehicles, an increase of 17% over 2010 sales. As a result of Mulallys relentless commitment to the goals he established in 2006, the Ford brand is now on track to increase its market share for the third consecutive year (Ford Motor Company Press Release, 2011). These results were not predicted before Mulallys leadership, and are an indicator that the appropriate leadership style is in place. When asked about Mulallys own beliefs about his leadership he stated: Was Ford going to make it? I don't know, Mulally replied. But we have a plan, and the plan says we are going to make it. (Eblin, 2009)

References Song, K.M. (2001, April 8). The Seattle Times. ] Boeings Mr. Nice Guy: Alan Mulally Steps Into the Limelight. Retrieved from Taylor III, Alex. (2009, May 12). Fixing up Ford. CNN Money. Retrieved from Mills, Q. (2005). Leadership, how to lead, how to live. . Retrieved from Hellriegel, O., Slocum, J., Slocum, J. W., & Jr., (2010). Organizational behavior. (13th ed.). Ohio: South-Western Pub. Vitez, O. (2010, November 11). The impact of leadership on organizational performance. . Retrieved from Eblin, S.(2009, September 2) Five Things Alan Mulally is Doing to Help Ford Win. Retrieved from Ford Motor Company Media Relations. (2011, November) Ford Motor Companys October Sales up 6 Percent; Ford Brand Utilities and Trucks Drive Gains. Retrieved from