GE had the most astonishing corporate overhaul in history and the man behind it was Jack Welch. He became the youngest CEO in the history of GE but that was only a sign of things to come. From 1981 to 2000, Jack Welch did not just reinvent the company but made it the most competitive brand in several industry domains. Naturally, the Jack Welch leadership style has been studied over and over again. Today, any aspiring manager or entrepreneur should study the Jack Welch leadership style but those aspiring to be business managers should first aspire to be leaders, as Mr Welch would have himself said.
Welsh Leadership Style and Characteristics
Jack Welch leadership style was about leading and not managing. Most leaders try to manage others. Delegating responsibilities, overseeing works done by others and monitoring progress are all fine but if someone is only busy managing these and not leading the team anywhere then he or she is not a leader at all.
Jack Welch leadership style is not about wearing suits and ties and trying to dictate every little detail to others. He believes in a semiformal way of dealing with things and actually working with the workforce on the ground to lead instead of managing from a towering office. He dejects bureaucracy, promotes pragmatic thinking, rejects assumptions or speculations and strives for simplicity.
Like many other iconic leaders, Jack Welch too believes in change. He sees change as an opportunity and not as a threat. Throughout his time at the helm of GE, he has been open to new views, contrasting or conflicting views, open ended discussions and has been keen to find ideas from the unlikeliest of corners in his company and beyond.
Jack Welch leadership style is about energizing others and not by throwing authority and showing one’s superior designation to juniors. He always believed in leading by example, inspiring others and not trying to impose on others what they may not truly believe in. For a team to succeed and for a leader to truly lead, there has to be the same vision, the same level of passion and similar energies need to be invested so the collective goal is achieved. Whenever the goal is distant from the aspirants or there is no singular goal shared by many, the team will never achieve it.
Finally, Jack Welch did not stand for hierarchy but promoted intellectual superiority, he did not focus as much on achievements as he did on learning and he treasured values more than numbers.