Henry Ford needs no introduction. He founded a company that at one point in time ruled the automobile industry, laid down the rules of the game that other automakers followed and he initiated some unprecedented changes in the world. Ford has once again found a firm foothold in the global automobile marketplace and is championing a few technologies that are well ahead of time.
Henry Ford has been and still is a respected personality. He is revered by many, including some present day billionaires. One doesn’t have to be an entrepreneur to source inspiration from the life and works of this great man. What everyone agrees with is his contribution, in the industry and the world at large. What everyone doesn’t agree with is the interpretation of Henry Ford management style.
What is the Henry Ford Management Style?
Henry Ford management style is very interesting, especially because you cannot explain it using any one category or type of leadership. He was dictatorial. In other words, he had an authoritarian or autocratic leadership style. But, he was never a believer of absolute authoritarianism. Even when he was at its dictatorial best, he did not ignore or reject ideas coming from all quarters. One of the biggest highlights of Henry Ford management style was his focus on people. He always ensured the welfare of people working for Ford and their families. That is quite contrary to what authoritarian management style usually is.
Very few business leaders in the world, in history and today, have managed to strike the balance between authoritarianism and participative management styles. Perhaps, that was one secret of his success.
Understanding the Psyche of Henry Ford
You can learn a lot about a person’s psyche by noting what one says, does and how one says it or does it. Henry Ford once said, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business”. He also said, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
The two statements make it very obvious that the man always believed in his way of doing things but he did not reject the possibility that there could be and indeed are other ways of getting things done. He was open to the possibility that his way may not be the best way.
Henry Ford loved working and he always longed for good products. He once said, “A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one.” His longing for that good product made him a tough taskmaster but he was also a generous leader. At one point in time, Ford paid unbelievably high wages and that attracted all the talent available in every niche of the automobile industry. He used to believe that “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.”
When you understand the psyche of Henry Ford, you would be able to see through his management style.
Takeaways from the Henry Ford Management Style!
Henry Ford always believed that we are created for work and that we should always pursue to create something or do something worthwhile. Money, fame and success should be a byproduct of that. He tried to instill the same sense of belief in everyone he worked with or had come in direct contact with. For a long time, Ford was a company driven by vision and powered by legacy. Obviously the company did flounder but it has emerged as a force to reckon with in the last eight years, which again had been made possible by another great leader in Alan Mulally.
Henry Ford valued his staff, the people he worked with and he valued customers. He used to say that business owners don’t pay wages to the employees, it is the customers who do and owners like him simply handled the money. His focus on the welfare of the staffs, customers and value made Ford a legacy that is still cherished today.
Henry Ford management style was about equality, doing what could be done, not finding faults but finding remedies and giving everyone what one deserved, no more and no less. He was also emotionally intelligent which helped him to connect with others. Despite his focus on technicalities and ways to improve his products, he was equally focused on how the products would change the lives of people and be of value.
The Henry Ford management style also focused on grooming people who did not believe that something could not be done. He liked people who believed that something can certainly be done about anything.