I have come to believe that almost anyone is capable of leading a corporation. My outlook took shape after working in different types of organizations and observing how managements performed their role and the results they achieved: Some succeeded and some failed. The experience I received in one particular company contributed more to my appreciation of good management decisions, not because this company succeeded, but because it went bankrupt.
What Makes Leaders
My awareness of how companies conducted business showed me two key aspects of leadership: factors outside of the leaders and qualities they possess. I noticed how the environment, education, interactions, and the level of attention they give to customers and employees influenced the company’s success. As an employee, I looked for important qualities in the company’s management: fairness, loyalty, vision, and the ability to manage crisis.
One of my prior employers operated in the specialty retailers industry. I gained solid work experience, and I enjoyed genuine family atmosphere there. My compensation package was not great, but the work atmosphere created by employees seemed to have made up for the low wages. Employees did not concentrate only on job description either; we interacted after work: board games, sports, celebration of birthdays, and holiday parties. This company benefited from employee cohesiveness because turnover of personnel and absenteeism were minimal.
Employees became suspicious of managers at the specialty retail company because management did not value employees’ contribution: Employees were excluded from the decision-making process. Management did not create a culture that encouraged creative ideas. In addition, recruitment of all managers happened outside the company. This approach did not give existing employees opportunities to grow. Employees who were qualified to fill vacant positions were demoralized by these strategies because adequate skills, knowledge, and desires to contribute at higher levels of the company structure were already in-house.
Even from my low level in the organization, I could see clear indications that the company’s financial position was deteriorating rapidly. Key information such as the daily cash position and financial statements pointed to it. I also observed how the company’s leadership did not adequately build teams to manage crisis situations. In fact, no meaningful strategies were formulated to save the ailing company. Turning around the company would have certainly made me consider management to be great because employment of a workforce has far-reaching positive effects: Consider the purchasing power of employees when they are gainfully employed.
Leaders who underestimate their responsibilities could contribute to the demise of their organizations. On the other hand, leaders who possess solid work ethics, foresight, and the ability to foster loyal customers and motivate all employees have greater chances of being successful.