Leadership – Part Five

Continuing with British Railways….

Mr. R.B. Reid came into power when the British Railways was plagued with crisis and was to be taken over by private companies. Mr. Reid, chairman of BR, had a vision. He wanted the British Railway system to be accident proof as was supported by the British Rail’s Rule Book.  He worked towards his mission and also motivated and encouraged his team to work towards the same. When Mr. Reid took over as the Chairman, there was a lot of non-coherence within the team. He built trust into the team by having a one to one relationship with them. He ensured that every penny used for the British Railways was being used in the right way. He put in different measures ensure that a proper scrutiny is being done to ensure that the many being sanctioned is used for the cause it’s been asked for.

In this case, we see a transformational style of leadership wherein Mr. Reid had a vision and worked towards it. Every time he achieved his goals he increased his vision further. He had the benefit of strong network that helped him to improve the system.

General Electric, Imagination at work

The former Chief Executive of CEO, Mr. Jack Welsh, is a very prominent figure in GE. He not only took GE to the zenith but also showed his successors a way to do so. He changed the model of the company as a whole and revamped it such that it is a leader in whatever it does. Jack Welsh worked on a model that worked to inspire, motivate and encourage its people.  Those are the 4 E’s of leadership which are:

Energy Any employee in GE is fully energized and works to excel in his own capabilities. Right from the top management to the executives all of them work with a zeal to achieve the goals set. This is built in by the team leaders for the lower management who draw their inspirational energy from the top management.

Energizer The energizer for these employees is the one to one relationship that the team leaders have with their teams. This is one of the foremost things every team leader is taught about. Having a one to one relationship with their employees shows that you care for them and are willing to help them in every possible way. By doing so, the employees are highly dedicated and work for the company with lots of enthusiasm.

Edge These are the officials with an competitive edge. They are the ones who have authority and control on critical decisions such as hiring new people, promotions etc.

Execute  This plays the most important role in the leadership model. It is the execution of the activities by the employees to achieve targets and to reach the goal of the company.

All the above mentioned play a very critical role in GE. In one of the interviews on CNBC, Jack Welsh, answering to a question as to how one can become a leader, Jack constantly emphasized on the need of building great teams. He strongly believed that for a success in any organization, team coherence makes all the difference. He also emphasized on the need to energize people. People who have an edge, people who have passion for their jobs, who can change and still continue to go further is what he believes is required to be a leader. He also says that if he had to employ anybody, the characteristics that he will be willing to look at are innovation in him. As per him, a leader is one who is smarter, who is energized, has the ability to get the work done, has an edge and most importantly has a passion for the role. Talking about leadership, he believes that every organization has a mix of people, i.e., in every organization; there is at least 20% of the employees who are highly motivated and will do anything to get the job done and always give high performance, 70% of them who are moderate and 10% of them whose performance is not of any worth. The method that Jack followed in GE to mobilize those 10% of them is by talking to them and helping them to achieve their best. If they do not feel comfortable in the job they are performing, they themselves will realize it and leave.


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