To look at the corporate career of Lee Iacocca is to look at one of the most successful business careers of all time. This is an individual who worked as the President of Ford, and then later the President and CEO of Chrysler. He is largely remembered for the extraordinary track record of success he enjoyed during his tenure with Chrysler. It was during this time that he pulled the company out of debt, introduced a number of extremely popular new vehicles, and restored the company to a position of respect and power in the automotive industry.
Iacocca retired in 1992, but his legacy is still felt to this day. Many still look to his example of leadership when trying to define and apply their own core principles of leadership.
The Leadership Style Of Lee Iacocca
The leadership style of Lee Iacocca is still studied in many circles. Any research into the various components that made up his leadership style will likely include the following:
1. Iacocca believed that a truly effective leader had to be willing to step out of their comfort zone. It wouldn’t do that leader or anyone around him any good to simply be surrounded by people who agreed with them without question.
2. Iacocca believed that great leadership was defined to a strong degree by great creativity. This creativity could be realized in the form of being willing to try something different, but it could also be utilized in situations in which a company is suddenly forced to adapt to substantial change within their industry.
3. Iacocca was a firm believer in open, honest communication. He never believed anyone could possibly benefit from partial information or misinformation.
4. Iacocca sought to establish himself as a man committed to doing what he perceived to be the right thing, and sticking to those convictions once a final decision had been rendered.
5. Iacocca believed that great leaders would always know the difference between arrogance and courage.
6. Iacocca believed that passion absolutely had to be part of the foundation of a successful approach to leadership. His own career at Ford began in the 1940’s, years before he assumed a President position with the company. That clearly indicates a belief in what he was doing.
7. Iacocca believed very keenly that a leader without common sense wasn’t much of a leader at all.
These things and other elements tell the leadership story of Lee Iacocca. It’s worth noting that his career saw far more triumph than failure.