Transactional leadership involves motivating and directing followers primarily through appealing to their own self-interest (Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009). In this case Meg Whitman’s leadership reflects transaction leadership through the focus on basic management process of controlling, organizing and short-term planning. Hellriegel and Slocum mentions Whitman craves for statistics and for bottom line results. Employees are cheerful and informal but are consistent in Whitman’s transactional leadership in planning, systems, numbers, and results.
Whitman’s primary component of transactional leadership is viewed by prompting her employees at eBay to achieve their performance goals. Through these attributes Whitman believe this is one reason why eBay has been so successful (Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009). Authentic Leadership Authentic leadership refers to individuals who (1) know and understand themselves (2) know what they believe and value, and (3) act on their values and beliefs through open and honest communications with subordinates and others (Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009).
The aspects of Whitman’s leadership that reflects authentic leadership is that she builds credibility and win the respect of her employees by encouraging and respecting diverse viewpoints. Whitman is described as a person with experience and discipline and not to be stereotype of a new economy executive. Whitman has learned that since she has been as eBay she has become a better leader, manger, and executive than when she arrived as a youngster (Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009). Whitman has provided a number of insights and perspectives on her leadership. Bay’s goal is to be the world’s most compelling commerce platform on the Internet. In meeting their goals and eBay’s goals, Whitman wants her employees to continue attracting more customers, expand the goods traded on the site, spread eBay to more global markets, making the user experience more fun, exciting, and easier, and acquiring Internet companies to become a full service retailer (Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009). Under the authentic leadership Whitman has empowered and motivated eBay’s employees to trust and follow her leadership style.
Transformational Leadership. Transformational leadership involves anticipating future trends inspiring followers to understand and embrace a new vision of possibilities, developing others to be leaders or better leaders and building organization or groups into a community of challenged and rewarded leaders (Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009). Transformational leadership style reflected in Whitman’s leadership through individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation. Individualized consideration is the degree to which the leader attends to followers’ needs, acts as a mentor or coach, and listens to followers’ concern (Hellriegel, D. & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009). Whitman shows individualized consideration when she decided to change course when one of her managers became ill on a business trip. She attended to her employee needs by staying by his side while he was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital until he was stabilized. Intellectual stimulation is the degree to which the leader challenges assumptions, take risks and solicits followers’ ideas (Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009). Whitman’s transformational leadership style encourages her employees to “think outside the box” by being innovative.
Meyers (2005) reference to Whitman leadership style is one who keeps a steady hand on the tiller rather than gripping and pulling hard on the levers of power. That means subtly steering an influencing relationship instead of controlling them to generate financial returns. For example, Whitman working from a cube and not from a corner office or conversing and not commanding her employees. Getting the employees to ask questions, as opposed to providing them with answers, and sharing what they have learned.
Finally, understanding that the bottom line success often stems from experimenting and failing or from doing nothing when bold action seems desperately needed (Meyers, 2005). Whitman used her leadership skills to transform the company from an online auction house into a general purpose shopping destination. Her experience and discipline created a platform for global online market place where everybody’s chance to succeed is equal and to stay focused on the same goals (Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009). Bay’s goal of being the first people to turn to when they want to buy anything. eBay owns no inventory and warehouse which helps make it highly profitable. It has cleverly used email, message boards, and its virtual community to forge bonds with customers. A key element to eBay’s growth is the continuous expansion of their market place and new services to communicate around the world (Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009).
eBay Employees Employees at eBay respond to Whitman’s leadership style in a positive way. Employees are cheerful and informal (Hellriegel, D. & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009). The employees are dedicated and goal driven they don’t talk about fun and games but about plans, systems, numbers, and results. Hellriegel and Slocum mentions one of Whitman’s managers stated: “I have numbers. I know them. They’re very clear. And the expectations are high” (2009, pg. 316). The employees of eBay also value Whitman’s opinion when the managers are struggle in making decisions. For example, the managers went to Whitman the CEO to make the financial decision on not selling certain Nazi memorabilia.
The employees seem to enjoy working under Whitman’s leadership style. One of Whitman’s employee stated: “She will exert herself personally, far and above the call of duty. She makes you want to the right thing” (Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum, J. W, Jr. 2009). Whitman looks for ways to encourage the contributions and development of her employees. Whitman’s leadership qualities have lead eBay to great success and the global trading platform where anyone can trade practically anything.
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