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Radical Leadership at Semco by Ricardo Semler Essay

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Updated: Dec 28th, 2021

The essay critically analyzes the leadership style by Ricardo Semler, Chief Executive Officer of Semco Group of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Generally leadership has been defined as the process whereby an individual has the ability to influence thoughts, ideas and actions of others in achieving a set of preset goals, tasks, duties and responsibilities. In any given organization setup, leadership has been considered to be very vital in contributing to achievement of success.

Radical leadership is all about transforming human beings it involves examining and discovering what are possible within an organization. Leaders embracing this style live from a vision of possibility and strongly take a stand to see that the vision is attained. Such leaders are open up thinkers who are capable of taking possibilities for the sake of realism and reliability in the organization and operate on the basis of their own power as well as taking responsibility (Robbins & Coulter, 2009).

The leadership style demonstrated by Semler is a combination of democratic, participative or consultative and Laissez-Faire. This style of leadership ensures that all members are on board in taking part when it comes to identification of goals/objectives and coming up with mechanisms or strategies for successful attainment of the set goals. As a leader, Semler seem to heavily rely on acting as a facilitator and not giving orders or tasks to the subjects thus employees have the opportunity to apply their creativity and resourcefulness to attainment of the desired goals (Robbins & Coulter, 2009).

In this leadership style Semler transferred the duty for making decision to the company’s subject who have a mechanism of voting and the majority wins and therefore lead. It is evident from the case application that a number of decisions are arrived through collective and participative actions of the subjects. Democracy is also evident in that each one of those taking part in running of the company have only one vote including the CEO (Robbins & Coulter, 2009).

Among the notable advantages of the leadership style embraced by Semler is that; it allows for development and nourishment of future leaders who will be in a position to serve the company coming years because involvement is encouraged paving way for such employees express their creativity and innovations, it creates a positive working surrounding, provide avenue for creative thinking, reducing the rate at which employees leave the company since they are the one who design jobs making them feel satisfied and enjoy work, the style also widens the range of possibilities for the company as various individuals would give varied approaches from several different perspectives hence coming up with an alternative that produces maximum yield, there is very high chances of minimal resistance to adopting innovations, the mechanisms to evaluate leaders put the organization at a better place as more serious leaders will be allowed to drive the organization, it enhances communication vital for existence of an organization and finally due to having responsibilities and tasks friction and office politics are minimized (Robbins & Coulter, 2009).

The draw backs of democratic leadership practiced by Semler are that; it is a time consuming activity and cannot be used to solve emerging issues that call for quicker decision making, in cases where the subject are not well experience very wrong decisions can be arrived at hence jeopardizing attainment of desired goals, where matters concerning security is involved, it is not a good style because such information may land in wrong hands, Semco have no values, dressing code, long term plans all these can lead to disorderliness and wrong picture to the eyes of the public, in one vote one man style the subject can gang up and vote for a person who will be more centered to them rather than achievement of the company’s goals and objectives, employees may feel insecure due to unavailability of a manager, managers do not have avenues for providing regular feedback to his subjects.

The challenges that face a hand off leader include; he/she can be ousted from office by his subjects, the subjects can come up with poor decisions that will jeopardize the reputations of such leaders and the organization at large, they also face the risk of having employees who are not motivated as they are not given information on how they are performing, finally things can be done behind the leaders back which will later prove to be messy. The solution to all these challenges is for the leader to embrace the varied style of leadership when appropriate (Robbins & Coulter, 2009).

Future leaders in Semco can easily be identified as the employees are actively involved in decision making. Those individuals with extraordinary leadership attributes can be easily seen and given an opportunity to show other the way forward. From my own opinion, there is no need for leadership training program since leaders are being created naturally by the present leader by allowing potential leaders bring their creativity and innovation on board (Robbins & Coulter, 2009).

For other organization, it is important that they borrow a leaf from Semco. Although the leadership style embraced by Semler seemed to have propelled the company to greater heights, it is worth noting that the style is prone to various serious challenges/draw backs. Therefore, for successful running of organization in this competitive business world, combinations of various leadership styles are paramount for future existence and thrive of such organizations.


Robbins, S., &Coulter, M. (2009). Management. Upper-Saddle-River: Prentice Hall.

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