The way Michael A. Todman is exercising leadership
It is possible to note that Mike Todman is an effective leader who has helped Whirlpool to overcome serious issues during the period of financial constraints. As an effective leader, Todman is an efficient manager as without appropriate management companies “face the threat of extinction” (DuBrin, 2013, p. 6). Mike Todman managed communication (internal as well as external), completed revamping product lines, and launched global strategic initiatives.
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Leaders often exercise leadership in different ways and on different levels. It is noteworthy that effective leadership is often associated with such features as “visionary, creative, inspirational, energizing and transformational” (Thorpe & Gold, 2012, p. 3). Todman exercises leadership on different levels (organizational and interpersonal). This leader has enough skills to develop strategic plans that are beneficial for the development of the company. He has the necessary vision to predict the most efficient way to respond to the changing environment. He also has enough authority to implement the change and make employees contribute. Todman is a transformational leader who inspires employees to think broader and envisions new perspectives.
Importantly, Todman is an effective international leader who can lead people in the USA as well as in other parts of the world. He claims that he has to work in several time zones as he communicates closely with team members and customers in other countries. McFarlin and Sweeney (2014, p. 365) stress that efficient leaders should “understand how cultures can shape” employees’ motivation and “response to leadership.” Todman has the necessary understanding that translates into the effective operation of the company and the effective performance of team members.
The leadership roles Todman emphasizes as president of Whirlpool, International
One of the roles performed by Todman is coach and motivator. For instance, he always makes sure that managers meet weekly and monthly and discuss major issues. Todman stresses that it is essential to “tell people exactly what is going on” and push “employees to think more broadly” (DuBrin, 2013, p. 30). Thus, he inspires employees to go the extra mile and come up with effective solutions. Ladkin and Spiller (2013, p. 5) note that this role is one of the most important and all effective leaders played it. Leaders should be able to coach, mentor, inspire and guide team members.
Todman also performs the role of an entrepreneur, and he is aware of “changing needs and requirements” (DuBrin, 2013, p. 30). He has weekly meetings and conferences with employees from other departments (from the US and abroad) as well as customers. Thus, he can trace the slightest changes in the market and respond to them through the development of strategic plans. Iszatt-White and Saunders (2014, p. 21) stress that driving change is one of the central aims of the leader who has to lead team members to new goals and perspectives.
Finally, Todman takes up the role of the strategic planner who sets “a vision and direction” for the company (DuBrin, 2013, p. 14). Hence, the president of Whirlpool International had to solve numerous issues the company faced. Under his leadership, the company started paying more attention to promotional methods rather than advertising; the company closed inefficient plants and launched various information systems management incentives. Importantly, Todman managed to develop effective communication within the organization. All these steps enabled the company to overcome difficulties and retain its position in the market. The three major roles Todman takes are essential for the development of the organization.
Todman’s balance between strategic thinking and focusing on people
It is possible to note that Todman reveals a balance between the focus on people and strategic thinking. The president took up his post when the company faced significant issues, and certain steps had to be undertaken. Todman had to shut down several inefficient plants. The decision was rather hard as many people lost their jobs. However, the president of the company had to make such a decision. Otherwise, the company would suffer larger losses, and many more people could lose their jobs later.
Researchers, as well as many leaders, agree that “the most important asset is the personnel” (Combe, 2014, p. 11). Todman seems to share this view as he pays significant attention to working with employees and letting people know where the company is moving. He stresses that communication is central to the effective functioning of each department and the company on the whole. Whirlpool’s employees think that Todman is an effective leader who guides them and helps them achieve the necessary goals. This is one of the most important signs that Todman focuses on people.
Researchers note that people have always longed for “central command” and the effective leader always has to balance between people and strategic thinking (as cited in Day, 2014, p. 13). Todman has managed to find this balance, and this has had a positive effect on the development of the company. Employees understand that they have a strong leader who has a vision and who is ready to share his ideas, inspire people, and help them reach the goals set. It is possible to conclude that Todman is an exemplary leader whose style can be considered and applied in other settings.
Combe, C. (2014). Introduction to management. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Day, D. (2014). The Oxford handbook of leadership and organizations. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
DuBrin, A.J. (2013). Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Iszatt-White, M., & Saunders, C. (2014). Leadership. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Ladkin, D., & Spiller, C. (2013). Authentic leadership: Clashes, convergences and coalescences. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.
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McFarlin, D., & Sweeney, P.D. (2014). International management: Strategic opportunities & cultural challenges. New York, NY: Routledge.
Thorpe, R., & Gold, J. (2012). Leadership and management development: The current state. In A. Mumford, J. Gold & R. Thorpe (Eds.), Gower handbook of leadership and management development (pp. 3-23). Burlington, VT: Gower Publishing, Ltd.