From a fantastic manager to a bit of a controversial figure, Sergio Marchionne has been in the news a lot in the past 15 years. Here, we will explore his dynamic and unique leadership style. We will talk about the culture of informality and working side-by-side with engineers and employees at Fiat and Chrysler. His leadership style has allowed him to save these two businesses, and build both of them into the automotive powerhouses that they are still today.
Bringing Transformation to the Business
When Fiat received 20% of Chrysler’s stock in 2009, Marchionne was there to help bring them back. Many felt that, at this point, there was no hope for Chrysler as a car company. But Marchionne’s dynamic style helped bring them back around 2011, after he was elected as the Chairman of the company. If we examine Marchionne’s leadership style, it is apparent that he is at the cutting edge of bringing real transformation to the businesses that he has been a leader of. When we compare his leadership style to the previous leaders of Fiat, it is apparent just how differently he thinks as a leader.
Breaking the Formality
One of Marchionne’s first moves at Fiat once he was employed there was to abandon the penthouse where the former Chairperson has had his office. Instead, he had his office moved to the floor where all his engineers worked. Marchionne no longer relayed commands and orders through secretaries. Instead, he issues them directly to employees. He also abandoned the formal style of leaders in the company before him. This is apparent when we examine Marchionne’s uniform: a pull-over sweater (normally blac), a button-down underneath, with black slacks. Unlike those before him, Marchionne never wears a tie or a suit to big events.
A Culture Where Everyone is a Leader
Marchionne broke the formality at Fiat and then Chrysler as a way to create a culture where everyone was an equal, and everyone was a leader. He longs to serve as a manager, not a figurehead, for his companies. Marchionne also stresses merit of work over the rank of workers. He believe that competition should be the rule of thumb in business, not insularity. Workers should strive for excellence over mediocrity. Lastly, accountability, and not empty promises, should be the final line in measuring just how well a worker is doing.