Essay: Jack Welch as a transformational leader

Leadership is the collective action of everyone to influence. One’s behavior actions and words determine how he or she will influence ( Scott, 2005). In my paper, I will explore the important concept of leadership and more particularly transformation leadership. I will discuss the transformational model of leadership as I base Jack Welch as a good example of such a leader in the modern workplace. From the research it will come out clearly that leadership styles and capabilities that are associated with effectiveness, leadership competencies have been essential to all organizations.
Leadership is basically the collective action of anyone to influence. Ones behavior actions and words determine how he or she can influence. (Scott, 2005). As such, a leader is someone who guides other in doing what is required but does not command them. On the same note, leader is born but not trained. Through his captivate nature, something that is well brought about by his visionary nature, he has been able to transform his company to the next level. Transformation is all about the ability of the leader to be an influential figure, motivational factor and the capability of empower others into putting an effort into effectiveness of their organizations. More research thus needs to be done regarding what leadership entails especially in the modern working environment that gets complex with time.

Type of leadership & Core competencies
An understanding of the main qualities that make a leader is vital as it is the qualities that bring out the different kinds of leaders. Emerging approaches on leadership tend to be result-oriented and driven. Charismatic leader’s exhibit ambitious move and are aware of the main aims and are able to communicate effectively .Leaders have Strong moral and self-discipline. Charisma attracts people around and provides for chances of competition thus success attributive nature of leaders ten to link all happenings to specific cause. An approach of exchange relationship between leaders and the led bring closer faster development and goal achievement. Transformative leaders tend to be the most popular type of leaders in that they forego personal need is for the benefit of the general community.
Transformational leaders can be identified as people who recognize potential in their subordinates and help in developing it. Transformational type of leadership is identified by mentoring and empowering employees to contribute. This is illustrated here in the diagram.

Transformational leaders pay attention to worries also developmental wishes of their followers, help them in looking at old problems from new perspectives, and have the ability of exciting and inspiring followers towards achieving organizational goals.
Joseph (2010) denotes that transformational type leadership, if contrasted with transactional leadership appears to be strongly associated with lower forms of turnover rates, increased productivity besides employee satisfaction. Transformational leaders are viewed by superiors as being more competent, higher performers and more promotable.
Jack Welch as a Transformational Leader
Having joined GE in 1960, Jack Welch was in 1981 named CEO of GE. In the early years Jack Welch as CEO initiated a plan of restructuring that consisted of cuts in massive jobs, placing the many businesses in number one or in number two according to various respective segments and unprofitable ones could be sold.
Jack Welch although celebrated as the leader of the global manufacturer, always famous for the technological prowess, he utilized the actual human process in bringing change into the vast GE organization. Showing respect to every individual because of the essential force brought towards organizational change, Jack formed the model of extraordinary performance which each leader of a corporate may learn from.
Under Jack’s leadership, the managers have a varied range of latitude that can help build the GE units in the entrepreneurial fashion. Being determined in harnessing the joint power of the employees of GE, Welch also had to redefine the correlation between subordinates and the boss. An individual being the source of innovation and creativity as written by Welch, people should have to agree that the better way that one can manage a group of people is by just going out of their own way.
Welch developed a 4 E leadership model; the E’s here are acronyms to the following as discussed next
i. Energy- ‘go, go, go’ is the motto of the individuals who have energy. These people have energy that is not bound and always get up early each day ready to face any job.
ii. Energizers-these people know how to make others perform. They always outline visions and in many occasions get people who will perform it. They know how to excite people about a crusade or a cause. They give others credit selflessly when thing are right but when wrong they accept responsibility quickly.
iii. Edge-these are the competitive type. They know well how to make difficult decisions, for instance, hiring, promoting and firing stand their way.
iv. Execute-the essential one to the whole model. Without good results, other e’s have little use. The executers recognize when productivity and activity ain’t same. They are also capable of changing edge and energy into work and results.
A Case study on the 2 -decade transformation of General Electric under the leadership of Welch
In 1981, as the Chief Executive Officer, Jack Welch’s mission was to give more energy to the General Electric, one of the largest companies in America. By just reviewing the company’s mission and values, he made GE to experience an increase in the capital base from USD 24 billion to USD 74billion which formed a good base for the readiness to meet more competitors among other predicaments in the future. He focused on the realignment of the objectives and the motivation hence making the managers stretch to limits that were previously unknown.
Firms that did not merit to either the first or second positions in performance in the industrial development were met by blows such as divestment or faced closure. Though at some point he was termed as a destroyer, he is known to have caused a great impact in the restructuring of the GE to become one of the best corporate organizations globally.
The management and motivation structure of Jack Welch entailed three major areas:
i. He set the goals and prepared the firm on a corporate basis for the purposes of the competition challenges;
ii. He also set to empower all the workers at all the levels of the organizations; and
iii. Ensuring that there was a communication of the new goals and visions via the whole organization by way of communication tools, for instance, extensive programs of training, forming new teams as well as the 3600 review processes.
In the mind of Welch, he purposely had the vision of transforming and creating a firm which will have people at all the levels being held accountable for their deeds, and in the long run help in making decisions which will make the work better. His motive was not to control the employees but to liberate the workers. Welch termed this as forming an organization from barriers and one that will facilitate employees to have self-direction and motivation to enhance realization of their goals. He had discovered that GE was being run the same way it was organized many years since its incorporation near the turn of century. Welch found out that the company was specifically represented by an overwhelming nine stacks of management that lay between the shop floor and the CEO.
The bureaucracy enhanced a non-responsive and an inward focus in the company where the workers had a hell of time in communicating with one another. As a matter of fact, had it not been that Welch caused a massive cost restructuring in the GE, the analysts had projected that the GE would plunge into a hole of losses by the end of the year 1982. In addressing the issue of GE falling into unproductive business, Welch did a complete overhaul of the management structure and thus eliminated all the layers of management, consolidated the jobs that seemed to overlap and the business units and made all the workers at every level to be held accountable for their work. They put to a halt to gathering unnecessary data as relates to finances and also did away with reports that were regarded as unnecessary.
Previously, the business managers usually requested for daily reports that contained much detail that often caused a chunk of a high stack of paper which made the sheer mass of detailed pieces of information impossible to be mastered thus making the information useless. In relation to the firm equipment, the operators started being accountable for the quality and standard of their work thus reducing the essence of having the inspectors. The net effect was that the workers had the chance of to get rid of the aspects of their work that was not productive as well as unnecessary. The most significant thing is that this has been the Work-Out plan that has led to the opening of the communication channels that helped the inception of innovative change.
Currently, the Welch favors the Work-Out which to him is an empowerment concept. A great number of employees in GE get a chance to be together to share ideas and thoughts as well as the know-how amid building and fostering a creative and teamwork environment. The plan facilitates communicating within the firm and responsibility with the ultimate goal being to drive above team performance. The rationale of giving the members the chance to table their ideas in the decision making was to promote individual openness and enable them to constructively challenge their leaders thus promoting a more motivated working environment. This was thus a management strategy that was a success to Welch. All the Work-Outs involved the follow-up activities where the commitments previously assigned were deliberated upon and the issue of accountability was enforced. The concept of empowerment has been of two types. First, the workers are actually satisfied by the fact that they are allowed to give out their concerns and second, the company has been able to benefit from the insights that are usually shared in the Work-Outs.
Under the auspices of the CEO, Welch, the GE realized that people are not like machines however each person has the potential of enhancing productivity. Knowledge of how best to use the human resource gives the company a competitive edge as well as making the worker feel an air of importance in the process of production and generally feel motivated. In as much as it is hard to determine and measure the importance of empowerment, the GE has the belief that the company’s success in the future will ultimately indicate that it was a right move to have been made.
The significant point is to investigate the way leaders like Welch is able to make the decisions that empowerment is the right mechanism and how they generally decide that as the best mechanism for their firms. In order to encourage the setting of goals and empowerment within the GE, Welch just needed to influence the establishment of vivid lines of communication in the firm. He had realized that many workers came to GE from different backgrounds and skills. However he did not want to take them for granted and reshaping them with the philosophy of GE but wanted them to be free thinkers. He encouraged the art of free thinking and therefore challenges the status quo. The concept of open communication is of essence in GE since it facilitated his objective of motivating the workers to think outside the box. This is because the channels work in both directions and thus give the workers the chance to air their grievances and thus work towards creating a consensus for action. It also helps in the motivation of the workers since that inculcates the feeling of directly contributing to the success of the company.
Cultural change processes
The Work-Out process in the GE was formed in 1988 as part of the drive for better productivity and efficiency. In the initial stages, the intention of the Work-Outs was for the identification and elimination of the unwanted processes that were left over from the past years where the management structure contained more layers. Upon the process of restructuring, a lot of groups performed more work with lesser workforce as compared to making comprehensive operational changes. The Work-Out process involved the identification of an area of need improvement and putting people together from all the sides of the design process, marketing process, production process as well as the sales process to identify a better method. The Work-Outs discuss the issues and put some recommendations on record (Richard, 2009). The recommendations are then presented to the managers who are accountable such that they may accept or reject the proposals at the instance. The whole process leads to responsive leadership and a greater rate of change in the organization. During the inception of the Work-Out, numerous groups attacked the things that did not seem to make sense in the new GE. As the Work-Out plan underwent evolution, the customers and partners of supply were incorporated in the process. The plan is currently part of the day to day life in GE.
Jack Welch will be remembered for causing changes such as:
‘ Merger & Acquisition- he is remembered to have made around 200 mergers and acquisition with his first acquisition with Hungary Lighting in 1989 and the reason behind the success of the mergers was the incorporation of the integration model. This facilitated the future of GE.
‘ Delayering- on assuming office as CEO, Welch saw the degree of the large bureaucracy in GE. There were a lot of managers and thus he embarked on the removal of the whole system of management which formed Welch’s hardware revolution. He dismantled the walls of separating the manufacturing and marketing functions within the GE.
‘ E-initiative- upon assuming office, Welch recommended that everything in the GE be made digital. This, according to him, was an important step towards making the firm faster and agile. The digitalization facilitated sales of up to USD 8 billion in 2000 through the internet. The e- initiative also helped the GE to save on the operational costs.
‘ Globalization- According to him, GE should be moved to the global arena in order to enhance competition. Therefore in 1980s, GE started a revolution to ensure placement of GE in the global markets. With the key growth initiative, the concept of globalization has had a role in helping GE rise at almost a double digit in rates. Currently, globalization is a major component of the GE fabric.
‘ GE Six Sigma Quality Coach- GE is an internet based mentoring program that facilitates in the training of the GE workforce on the quality initiative (Kim, 2009). This is a significant tool that helps GE achieve the Six Sigma Quality.
‘ Work-Out- this was Welch’s cultural initiative that was responsible for the changing of attitudes and behaviors within the GE. The Work-Out made sure that the management listened to employees giving them a voice the making of decisions. Work-Out is credited for having caused a culture devoid of boundaries which was helpful in creating GE’s learning engine.
The few simple ideas that Jack’s attitude of management break into are; ensuring flow of free information in the whole organization, hierarchical break down and to encourage people to speak, hear and feel free to the new ideas. At the age of 36 when Jack first became the vice president in GE he received every person’s call when a problem arose regardless of the persons post and this was the organization which Jack built in terms of organizational communication. Jack successful transformed the contented behemoth to a strong company that is prepared to face the competition of the world.
‘ By getting out layers of the bureaucracy who are not necessary and organization flattening, Jack enlightened the employees and also empowering them in making decisions and an effect to their jobs, also the whole company. Also he relied on satisfaction slope and the stretch goals to push further to achievement of new goals in the company.
‘ Relaying via the various communication means, motivational mediums and training there was an addition of empowerment. Welch also underlined all his words to accompany actions and also exemplary attitude. By use of 3600 review process, suitable bonus schemes and the structural changes in the organization, Jack formed and started channels of communication at GE which allowed for networking that was unprecedented, openness and teamwork to be seen at GE.
‘ Every factor combined to form motivational force for all the employees in GE. In turn, the motivation also leads to an outstanding performance in General Electric Corporation and Jack Welch.
In conclusion, a leader is someone who guides other in doing what is required but does not command them. Transformation is all about the ability of the leader to be an influential figure, motivational factor and the capability of empower others into putting an effort into effectiveness of their organizations.
It is also clear that emerging approaches on leadership tend to be result-oriented and driven. Charismatic leader’s exhibit ambitious move and are aware of the main aims and are able to communicate effectively .leaders have Strong moral and self-discipline. Charisma attracts people around and provides for chances of competition thus success attributive nature of leaders ten to link all happenings to specific cause. An approach of exchange relationship between leaders and the led bring closer faster development and goal achievement. Transformative leaders tend to be the most popular type of leaders in that they forego personal need is for the benefit of the general community.

Joseph G.2010. Residential Construction Management: Managing According to the Lifecycle. J. Ross Publishing.pg121
Richard D.2009.Management. Cengage Learning.pp514-15
Credit Suisse (Research Institute).2012. Gender diversity and corporate performance. Zurich, Switzerland, 13 July 2012. Credit Suisse AG.
Scott N . 2005. Executive Leadership for Effective Administration. Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.
Kim H. 2009. Six Sigma for the New Millennium: A CSSBB Guidebook’s Quality Press.
Marc H . 2004. High Performance Teams: How to Make Them Work. Greenwood Publishing Group.

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