Henry Ford was an inventor with more than a hundred patents. He revolutionized the global automobile industry and he was one of the richest men in his times. Henry Ford has been a role model for many but not without any flaws. While he had many traits which could be debated and criticized, what cannot be disputed is the Henry Ford leadership style.
Many historians and scholars have studied the Henry Ford leadership style. He had something in him that attracted the best of talents in that era. A single man cannot possibly hire the best talents in any industry consistently and keep reinventing his brand for years unless there is something special. This special ingredient was Henry Ford’s belief that it is people and their efforts which pave the way for success. Henry Ford once famously said that one can take away his factories, burn his buildings and ruin his business but if he had his people with him then he could create his business right back up again. This is the significance with which Ford treated his employees, colleagues and his contemporaries. He regarded a man as his best friend if that man could bring out the best in him, not flatter him or praise him for unfounded or unsubstantiated reason.
Henry Ford had a very frank attitude, something that didn’t always go down well with his workers or with his peers. But he didn’t change that throughout his life. He did face some troubles owing to his overly frank approach and bluntness but it is owing to those attributes that he also built one of the first iconic brands in the world.
Henry Ford believed in leading from the front, he believed in continuing education even when one was working and becoming old, he had an immense capacity to see challenges as minor hurdles and failures as opportunities to start afresh. He failed twice before he founded Ford and that says a lot about the man’s trial and error approach. Nothing is etched permanently and one cannot assume to have everything to make something worthwhile. That was the philosophy Henry Ford lived by and he instilled the same in his workforce. There was a time when the finest engineers from across the country worked for Ford, something that changed as he aged but the Henry Ford leadership style became a cult even in those days when he had many who could give him some serious competition but not many who succeeded to do so.