Organizational leadership skills have been highly critical in the contemporary society. Many companies aim to instill the best leadership system, so that they can reap the best performance possible. Effective leadership system should be properly aligned with the corporate strategy so as to serve as a powerful lever to accomplish the short and long term objectives (Yukl, 2010). The modern business environment is fast paced and leaders in any given organization must be able to link their employee’s activities to the objectives of the company. Great leaders aim to take companies to extremely new heights. They know how to treat their workers well, how to overhaul malfunctioning organizational cultures, developing marketable brands and new strategies that are likely to be in harmony with the systems, put in place to achieve the aims of the company. Some of the organizational leaders are, however, stubborn and difficult to work with. The ability to achieve the desired goals of any company depends on the leadership capacity of the top management team (Baack, 2012). This paper analyses the leadership model of Robert Nardelli, the former Chief Executive of Home Depot.
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Robert Nardelli’s leadership style at Home Depot is by a large extent task-centered. He can be referred to as an autocratic leader and managed the system through giving directions. He was overly forceful and oppressive, a character trait that can generally be described as heavy-handedness. He was also inflexible. After the Home Depot Company snared him, he started the process of centralizing the control of the whole system. This happened in a very aggressive way. He neglected the significant contribution of the staff. He looked forward to develop the company by first, concentrating on investing in technology even at the expense of harmonizing the activities of the staff members to the goals of the organization.
The top managers were strictly held accountable on almost all the activities that happened. Although he was able to run the company effectively for around six years, the growth of the company slowed down during his tenure, an evidence of shortcoming within the leadership system. This was the time the system’s productivity was overtaken by Lowe, a competitor. Robert’s management system was very inflexible and insensitive. As an effective leader, he ought to have focused more on the cost because at the time when he was hired, sales were increasing at reasonable rates. He was less involved in innovative and constructive leadership. Although he was able to attempt to mobilize and improve retail efficiencies, he damaged the morale of the employees through his autocratic leadership system. He neglected the important points of bringing together the people to work as a team, the heart of the business and this made him to fail dismally (Bloomberg Business week, 2007).
From an insightful perspective, Robert Nardelli was able to deliver profits and cut down most of the unnecessary costs. Operations and infrastructure of the company was improved in his term. As a consequence, there was a consistent and strong growth. A lot of criticism in his leadership arose when it was deemed that he offered below the expected quality services and, at the same time, excessive rewards were evident. Although profits are important in any organization, leaders must know the fact that sometimes they must allow soft organizational skills to function for their systems, since this makes the workers feel that they are completely the part of the system (Balkundi, & Kilduff, 2005).
Home depot did well under Bernie Marcus because he allowed independent minds to thrive in the system. As a result of Robert trying to change the whole system, the employees were not willing to transform, since they doubted the effectiveness of the change and this lowered their morale. Store managers, for instance, felt that they had lost independence and autonomy because of the centralized control structure. He was unable to unite the commitment of all the key players in the productivity of the company. He increased his bonuses even when the organization was performing dismally.
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It can, therefore, be argued that Robert’s leadership style does not conform to the needs of the immediate environment and, consequently, is not contingent. He did not realize that what worked at General Electric could not necessarily work out at Home Depot (Kavilanz, 2007). The idea of firing people when they stayed for a long time without adapting to his system was also unethical because he brought in his former colleagues at General Electric who could neither perform as expected. In addition, some of the workers he hired, especially in stores, were less experienced.
In conclusion, Robert possessed certain traits that made him successful in some environments, such as General Electric Company; but his traits were not effective in Home Depot. He lacked situational analysis of the conditions he met at Home Depot. As an effective leader, it was expected that he could have applied contingent leadership qualities that would overcome the barriers he created by not involving the employees in his decision making processes. He underscored the fact that he could have learnt to be a great leader if he took time to learn the situation of the company, so that all the people felt involved in participating towards the decision making activities and attaining the long term goals of an organization.