We will look at the various aspects of leadership and management with respect to the company GE (General Electric) and see how the two integrate while maintaining the disparity to make this organization number one enterprise and the best training school for future leaders and managers. Management Vs Leadership “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things” The above quote by Peter F. Drucker sums up beautifully the essence of leadership and management. Management involves the tactical aspect of day to day running of a function.
A manager gets the power to direct the subordinates by the virtue of the position being held. He/she typically carries out the responsibilities laid out by the organization for him/her. A manager is more of a problem solver and takes care of work areas relating to people management, time management, decision making etc. A leader on the other hand is more of a visionary. He has the ability to energize others and is self motivated and self driven. He sets the vision for his organization and has the power to influence the people to walk the path he has envisaged.
However, there are places where a person needs to have both management and leadership skills. A manager in a team role would need leadership skills to influence his team members and get work done from them. Similarly, a leader needs to have management skills to be able to execute his vision. Hence, success of an organization would require people with a blend of both virtues. What role they play would depend on the percentage of each character in the individual. Leadership and management roles case study - GE
GE has acquired its leadership legacy from Jack Welch, one of the greatest leaders of all times to come. He propagated a leadership style alien to the organizations of the time he took over GE’s reigns and changed the organization culture completely. Jack’s major success as a leader was due to his concept of “boundary less thinking”. This is how he grew an American manufacturing company into a services giant spread across 100 countries all across the globe (beginnersinvest. about. com ).
One of the evidences of this “boundaryless” culture can be seen in Jack’s initiation of e-business. He connected the company directly to the suppliers as well as the customers electronically. This helped in quick information flow and instant resolution to the customer’s woes (answers. com). The managers here also followed this behavior as propagated by the leadership. This can be seen by the enthusiasm they took in taking up 6-sigma quality projects and delivered immense profits when Welch initiated the six sigma drive to reap benefits of the quality initiative.
The managers enthusiastically followed their leader and undertook rigorous quality trainings, learned from each other’s experiences and further fired the six sigma drive. In fact, the benefits derived from this vision of Welch and the immense participation by the managers all across the businesses lead to a productivity gains of $320 million in 1997 and even more at around $750 million in 1998 (beginnersinvest. about. com ). Developing leaders was an important strategy of Welch as this always ensured a lineage of good leadership for the company.
To fulfill this vision he had setup a leadership development school at Crotonville. He used this school as a means of encouraging “boudaryless” culture as well as a forum for “best practice sharing” as managers from various businesses would share their experiences both theoretical and practical and use the learning from these class room sessions to improve their respective businesses. However, some of the managers from “previous era” were not very enthusiastic about participation in these sessions.
So, Welch started what he called “work-out” sessions. The managers would not be included in these discussions which were facilitated by academic people hired from outside the organization. After discussing the problems and solutions within the work-out group, the points were then discussed with the concerned managers there and then and they had to decide about whether to accept the solutions or give their view points against them and provide better options or to setup a plan to execute in phases (answers. com).
Finally, these sessions became a way of resolving problems and involving employee participation and are still being used by managers to solve issues. Managers were the key messengers of the leadership to propagate and implement their messages. Managers were encouraged to come up with new ideas and were invited to Crotonville to proudly share ideas in front of Welch and the proficient executive team of GE (answers. com). Jack spread the concept of informality in the organization. He would send personal notes to people wherever possible.
On of his managers once turned down a promotion because of his inability to shift from the location where he was presently working. Jack wrote him a personal note which went as follows: ''We like you for a lot of reasons--one of them is that you are a very special person. You proved it again this morning. Good for you and your lucky family. Make Diamonds a great business and keep your priorities straight. '' (beginnersinvest. about. com). Woodburn was immensely moved by this as he said ''It showed me he cared about me not as a manager but as a person . That means a lot. ' (beginnersinvest. about. com). From the discussion above, we can understand how leadership differs from the management at GE. The leaders here are visionaries and the managers support their vision by following and propagating their ideas. Managers here are experts in their areas of operation while the leaders groom them to be future leaders. There were times, though, when the managers were not ready for the change their leader was propagating. The leaders have the capability of finding ways of getting their vision implemented which is evident from the work-out sessions idea of Welch.
Recommendations for achieving a healthy work culture in an organization The growth curve and sustainability of an organization is highly influenced by its work culture. The key to everlasting success is to nurture the spirit of high business ethics in the organization. Where leaders and managers succumb to unethical dealings to spur growth, the organization is bound reach a fatal end soon. Thus, with undeterred focus on values, the leaders can create a transparent and healthy work environment.
Another important strategy to achieve positive organizational culture is not to put pounding pressure on the people to perform. The undue pressure caused by Jack’s aggressive vision, lead people to resort to unethical means to deliver results. GE was at one time weighed down by scandals like the Kidder, Peabody & Co. bond-trading scam of the 90’s which resulted in bogus profits (beginnersinvest. about. com). Works Cited Kotelnikov, Vadim. 25 Lessons from Jack Welch. February 16, 2010. http://www. 1000ventures. com/business_guide/mgmt_new-model_25lessons-welch. html coach4growth. com.
Leadership vs. Management: What are the Characteristics of a Leader and a Manager. 2007. February 16, 2010. http://www. coach4growth. com/good-leadership-skills/leadershipvmanagement. html beginnersinvest. about. com. How Jack Welch runs GE. May 28, 1998. February 16, 2010. http://beginnersinvest. about. com/gi/o. htm? zi=1/XJ/Ya=1=beginnersinvest=money=22=160_651_610_315=10=14=1=1=http%3A//www. businessweek. com/1998/23/b3581001. htm answers. com. Business Biographies: Jack Welch. 2010. February 16, 2010. http://www. answers. com/topic/jack-welch