There are no doubts that Jack Welch, former Chief Executive Officer of General Electrics (GE), is internationally reputed for his extraordinary leadership style and business acumen within one of the most powerful American companies, more precisely, General Electrics. He definitely transformed GE into a prolific business and the company figures talk for themselves. During the two decades at the head of the company, GE grew from US$13 billion in 1981 to US$480 billion in 2000.
General Electrics (GE) is the second largest American company in terms of capitalization. GE has been driven by two of the most charismatic leaders of the end of the 20th Century and they both left their stamp in the strategic management of the company. Dedicated to numerous businesses, GE's portfolio is definitely diversified and offers a breadth of high technological products and services around the world to numerous customers, governments, other companies and individuals.
This paper is going to deal with Jack Welch's leadership and management styles and his own theories regarding leadership that saw him emerge as an extraordinary business leader for GE and one of the pioneers of leadership concepts.
Firstly, it would be judicious to define leadership; leadership is one of the great intangibles of the business world. Today, a leader understands that you have to give up part of the control to get results, so he acts like a coach and not as a boss. Successful leadership is not dependent on the position of a single universal pattern of inborn traits and abilities. According to Harry Truman: a leader is a man who has the ability to get other people do or to do what they want to do and make them like it .
Jack Welch, or John Francis Welch Junior, was born in Peabody, Massachusetts, U.S.A, in November 1935. He is the son of Grace Andrews and John Welch who was a railroad conductor. Jack Welch was married twice and divorced twice as well and has four children from his first marriage.
Concerning his education, he actually graduated in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts and had a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1959. One year after his graduation, he was Junior Engineer at GE until 1968 when he operated as Vice President and Head of GE Plastics until 1971. From 1971 to 1973, he was Vice President of Chemical and Metallurgical Division of GE and until 1977, he was Head of the Strategic Planning.
Tags: Jack Welch, GE globalization strategy, Jack Welch's leadership and management styles
[...] Jack Welch had a faultless leadership attitude and behavior, the reason he could generate a motivational ambiance within GE. In fact, he was strongly self-confident but at the same time he disliked conceited people. He was double-edged because he drew out the potential of his best employees but also fired the less convincing ones. Thus, he could create a motivational mood by emphasizing a high level of competitiveness among employees. Furthermore, the high motivation of employees also arose from the fact that Jack Welch was known to be a dictator. [...]
[...] JACK WELCH'S LEADERSHIP STYLE& TRAITS The challenge for Welch to succeed to the very charismatic former CEO Jones was important and the fact is that he could get over this amazing recognition and imposes himself with his own leader skills and ideas, so that people associate more Welch to GE than Jones nowadays. When Jack Welch arrived at the head of the company, he brought within GE a deep feeling of informality. Indeed, Welch was very people-oriented and spent a lot of time on people issues because he took care of people working for the company he knew so much. [...]
[...] It is by the way obvious that the management style and the leadership of Jack Welch inspired other CEOs, like his successor Jeffrey Immelt. RECOMMENDATIONS Now that we analyzed Jack Welch's leadership, we can make recommendations to improve our leadership style. The fact is that creating a vision is important but it is more judicious to adapt the organization to this vision. We have to incorporate passionate people, so that they like what they do and feel our energy. Moreover, we must find leaders who have the same qualities and expectations. [...]
[...] We cannot deny that Jack Welch invented a new model for business leaders everywhere. His brilliance and management practices set good examples to any manager aspiring to a successful career. Thanks to his transformational leadership style, he could make GE one of the most profitable companies in the US. What we can learn from Jack Welch is that he was ready to come to grips with reality and it is essential for business leaders to admit reality. Actually, Welch had common characteristics with other leaders who inspired him. [...]
[...] In addition, for Welch, managers had to rise in the hierarchy only according to time and loyalty given to the company and not thanks to leadership qualities. Moreover, Welch modified the organization by reducing the management levels in order to better communicate and exchange ideas. Welch also lowered expenses and constantly tried to save money to catalyze sustainable growth for GE. The vision of Welch for GE was simple. He wanted to emphasize enthusiasm throughout all levels of the company and he spent his energy to achieve this objective. [...]
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