Henry Ford – the Leadership Qualities of One of History’s Greatest Innovators.

5097 Words Sep 30th, 2012 21 Pages
Henry Ford – The Leadership qualities of one of history’s greatest innovators.

Executive summary

This paper set out to find out if Henry Ford was a capable leader or just a great innovator who took advantage of a good opportunity?

We looked at the leadership traits and style of Henry Ford and found that he was a great leader, however if he had to work in today’s business world he would have to adapt to the way modern leaders deal with managing change. The examples we found of Ford’s business practices suggested he had a very direct and dictatorial management style and after years of success he failed to adapt change to his business when it needed it most. As a result, rival companies seized on changing market trends, while Ford
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In Kotter’s (1990) comparison, it could be seen that the process leads from a leader to the manager, i.e. the leader looks at what needs to be done and implements a strategy, and then a manager deals with the planning and operational procedures to fulfill it. That being said, it could be the case that an individual in a management position is already a leader. To be a leader all you need is followers, therefore, leaders could be found at any level in an organisation (see Goffee and Jones, 2000).

After identifying the functions of a leader the question has to be asked, is there a specific set of traits that define a leader?

Cannell (2008) believed the qualities of a successful leader were generally high intelligence, high level of knowledge in their field, excellent with people, ability to inspire, excellent communication, and self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses.

Some thirty to sixty years before Cannell, Stogdill (1948, 1974) had undertaken many trait studies trying to discover the qualities of a leader, which came to be known as ‘great man theory.’ This theory argued that great leaders were born and it didn’t matter what the circumstances were, this individual would rise to power, take control and lead. The traits discovered are as followed;
Table 1.2 STOGDILL | Desire for responsibility | Completion of task and jobs | Strong pursuit of goals | Problem-solving | Very initiative in social environment

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