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Jack Francis Welch is a well-known businessman who was working at General Electrics for several decades and influenced the company greatly. He set the standards for performance for his followers that were rather hard to reach and maintain. Welch utilized stress as a driving force of the working process. He paid a lot of attention to the issues of unproductive work and dismissed many employees. The external environment has influenced Welch and General Electrics as well as they influenced it.
Jack Francis Welch is a well-known businessman who was working at General Electrics for several decades and influenced the company greatly. Under the influence of the customers’ needs, General Electrics got involved into eco-oriented infrastructure. The organization implemented the “ecomagination” strategy and proceeded working searching for alternative energy and technologies that would not harm the environment. It was the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st one, and for this company it became associated with the phrase “green is green”. Jack Welch rebuilt General Electrics so that green color of nature became the green color of money (Little, n.d.). Still, the way he achieved his success caused numerous dismissals and affected the external environment.
Jack Welch as a Leader
Becoming a CEO of General Electrics, Jack Welch got an opportunity to show his leadership qualities and the way he can influence not only some people but also the whole company (McCain, 2006). He set the standards for performance for his followers that were rather hard to reach and maintain.
Welch’s leadership style was an authoritarian one. He “took no prisoners” and was not trying to look friendly (Northouse, 2014). As a leader, he utilized stress as a driving force of the working process. Welch believed that it helped to enhance efficiency. According to his ideas, the workers who were afraid of losing their positions lived under the stress that improved their productivity. He believed that if the employees wanted to get a positive feedback from him, they had to “deliver results making their boss look good and the company more competitive” (Gibbons, 2005).
He was a “Level One” leader, who was followed due to the position he occupied (Maxwell, 2011). The employees were not happy with the situation they had at the workplace, but they were too afraid to lose the job.
As a leader, Welch became really influential. He occurred to be able to affect the lives of a number of people who were working at General Electrics and who were not. He reached his goals extremely quickly and became a remarkable person.
The Jack Welch’s followers were the employees of the company. He encouraged them to work hard by paying a lot of attention to the issues of unproductive work. The punishment for being not good enough was severe and finished with dismissal, so more than 100,000 workers lost their jobs (You don’t know Jack, 2001). “Your job is to tell them what you like about what they’re doing and how they can improve. You have to be sure you’re telling people exactly what you think of them”, said Welch (Gibbons, 2005). He believed that the workers should not be surprised by the fact they are promoted or fired. Such fairness occurred to be rather cruel in many cases.
The leader believed that people should provide feedback and streamline the decision-making process. Welch wanted the managers to be open, frank and self-assured. He paid lots of attention to the emotions of the personnel and believed that their activeness would be beneficial for the company and its income. Thus, Welch wanted the followers to be creative and encouraged the feeling of self-worth. But he thought that there should have been no focus on individual power and people’s minds needed changes.
The external environment has influenced Welch and General Electrics as well as they influenced it. Realizing that the customers’ needs changed, the leader needed to implement alterations as quickly as possible and bring success to the organization. Moreover, the business faced competition, and Welch wanted to use their excellent performance as a weapon. He utilized a rather severe approach that was made to increase the income of General Electrics. In this way, the stress was used not only to manage the personnel but also to impact the external environment:
- As the production facilities of the company moved from America to Mexico, Welch put the suppliers under stress and made them do the same.
- He influenced the communities that did not want provide tax breaks. The leader threatened them by closing the plant and firing the workers.
- Welch also affected the regulatory system and made the government more permissive. Utilizing the power the company had, he wanted to avoid taxes, conduct frauds, etc.
All in all, he caused great damage to the communities (You don’t know Jack, 2001). The disinvestment and mass dismissals were crucial issues that were fixing during more than two decades.
By dint of this research, I gained several important insights. I understood that the leaders can reach their goals and enhance the condition of their company not only being positive-minded. The same result can be gained in different ways. Welch did not need to be friendly and lead the workers by his own example. He did not need to spend time and effort on taking care of the employees. Still, I believe that he was too strict, and could have been more understanding. This research allowed me to see another side of leadership and realize which actions are permissible for me and which are not.
Gibbons, T. (2005). Managers’ top priority is communication, guru says; management leader Welch stresses candor, honesty with employees. The Florida Times Union. Web.
Little, J. (n.d.). GE & investing in environmental technology: “Green is green”. Web.
Maxwell, J. (2011). The 5 levels of leadership. New York, NY: Center Street.
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McCain, R. (2006, March 1). Leaders of free business world; Covey, Welch will dish out winning strategies for success. The Washington Times. Web.
Northouse, P. (2014). Introduction to leadership. London, United Kingdom: SAGE Publications.
You don’t know Jack. (2001). Web.