Leader Traits and Effectiveness

Leader Traits and Effectiveness

Jeffery R. Immelt is the current CEO and chairman of the board of General Electric, an American based conglomerate. He is responsible for implementation of the company’s short term and long term strategies with the aim of increasing shareholder value. Specifically, he is responsible for developing appropriate strategies that can increase the company’s future prospects. As the chief executive officer, his role also involves making day-to-day management decisions. The CEO acts as the liaison between the top management and the Board. He also provides the Board with official communication from the management. The CEO is also charged with providing official communication to all relevant stakeholders such as the public, employees, shareholders, investors and government authorities. The CEO is also responsible for ensuring that the company maintains corporate citizenship and also social responsibility towards the community. Lastly, his role also involves putting internal and external controls or checks that ensure the company operates within its legal mandate.

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General Electric is an American-based conglomerate that deals in manufacturing and provision of financial services. General Electric is a highly diversified company with operations in the following segments: Aviation, Healthcare, Power & Water, Energy Management, Oil & Gas, Home & Business Solutions, Transportation, and Capital Management. Its range of products as well as services include: medical imaging products, manufacture of aircraft engines, water processing, power generation, transmission distribution, security technology, electricity and others. As seen above, the company has heavily diversified into a number of business segments, totaling to eight different segments. Diversification ensures that the company can still make profits from other sectors in case one of the sectors fails to give positive returns (Merced & Sorkin, 2015).

Describe the qualities that are important to the leader’s success

There are a number of qualities that are important to a Jeffrey R. Immelt’s success. To start with, it is important for him to be people oriented. This is characterized by traits such as being friendly and empathy. It is important for the CEO to show concern for others and the relations he maintains with them. A CEO should be an approachable and empathetic person. In that way, employees can be able to freely interact with him. This encourages employees to contribute in decision making. Innovating thinking is critical to Jeffrey R. Immelt. The success of General Electric is largely the result of innovative thinking. According to Merced & Sorkin (2015), General Electric’s success is attributed to what Immelt refers to as “constant entrepreneurship.” In this, he attributes his success to the ability to indentify market shifts in the long run.

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Adaptability is also important to the success of Jeffery R. Immelt. During the 2008 financial crisis, General Electric was heavily impacted. Through his leadership, Immelt was able to steer the company away from bankruptcy. In the recent period, General Electric has sought to move away from its financial segment due to the volatility and strict regulations in the sector (Merced & Sorkin, 2015). The company has resolved to sell off a large share of the segment to reduce risks. This also indicates the need for leaders to be resilient since the market may not perform as expected. Dependability is also important to his success. A leader should be somebody who can be depended on. For instance, he should express credibility in his duties, conformance to outline policies and procedures and show good organizational skills. A leader should show commitment to work and follow established rules. He should seldom get into trouble. Immelt exercises democratic leadership in the organization.

Overview of other leaders

There are other leaders with similar traits who are successful in different fields. One such leader is Sir Richard Branson is a prominent figure in the world of business. Branson is a successful entrepreneur who first launched a magazine at the tender age of 16 when he was still a student. Branson is the sole founder of the Virgin Group, which comprise of over 400 companies. Despite being an innovative businessman, Branson is also known for his courage and determination to succeed in the business world. He is also a risk taker who and is known for his “get it” attitude in the world of business. Immelt is also a risk taker and an innovative thinker who has contributed much in the diversification efforts at General Electric. Gary C. Kelly, is the current CEO and chairman of the board in Southwest Airlines. Kelly employs democratic leadership in the organization just like Immellt. His leadership style has been successful especially in encouraging innovativeness from employees.

Not all leaders share the same traits, even though they may still be successful. Leona Helmsley is a good example of leaders exercise autocratic leadership. Leona is the owner of Helmsley Hotel Chain. Leona is known for demanding perfection from the employees. However, this kind of leadership style resulted in conflicts with majority of the employees. Other successful leaders such as Donald Trump also exercise autocratic leadership. Donald Trump is the head of Trump Organization where decision making is centralized. Trump wields absolute power over his employees. Reports indicate that majority of his employees like him as he is not a vicious leader (Cole, 2015).

How differences in various situations faced by leaders may impact leadership effectives

According to contingency theories, the kind of situations that leaders find themselves in have a significant impact on their leadership effectiveness. Contingency theories posit that there are no correct leaders or leadership style, but it all depends with the situation leaders find themselves in. Critical situations may call for new approaches or new leadership styles from a leader. When leaders are faced with critical situations, they may make decisions quickly without looking at all dimensions of the situation. This may impact their effectiveness and the quality of decisions they make. Leaders may be effective in one situation due to their specific behaviors, traits, abilities and other reasons. However in different situations, leaders may be predisposed to failure and ineffectiveness (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy,2015)

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The particular situations in which leaders find themselves determine the actions taken by leaders or the behaviors they exhibit. A number of factors found in the environmental context may have a significant impact on leader behavior. Certain factors such as the size of the organization, task complexity, worker maturity, past experience and other factors determine the type of decisions made by leaders. Leaders are only effective in particular situations but not in all type of situations. Leaders can improve their leadership effectiveness by focusing on their specific behaviors, traits and abilities. Thus, the situation has a significant impact on the leadership abilities of an individual. Over the years, studies have attempted to analyze the distinct attributes of a particular setting that can be affiliated with the leader’s success. Majority of studies agree on four characteristics of situations that may impact leaders’ performance. These situations include: role characteristics, structure of the organization, organizational climate and the characteristics of employees (Fairholm & Fairholm, 2009).


Cole, H. (2015). The World’s Most Powerful People. Forbes.com. Retrieved from:             http://www.forbes.com/profile/donald-trump/

Fairholm, M. R., & Fairholm, G. W. (2009). Understanding leadership perspectives: Theoretical             and practical approaches. New York: Springer

Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C., & Curphy, G. J. (2015). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of        experience (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Merced, M., & Sorkin, A. (2015, April 10). G.E. Retreat From Finance in Post-Crisis        Reorganization. The New York Times.