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Marissa Mayer’s Approach to Leadership
Marissa Mayer is the fifth CEO at Yahoo. Prior to taking her leadership position at Yahoo, she was an executive at Google. Her past and current endeavors indicate her leadership skills, which characterize her as both a transformational and a charismatic leader. Her actions indicate that she motivates her followers to go above and beyond in creating changes. Her charisma is displayed in her personality and behavior. Her decisions have profound impacts on her followers. Transformational leadership focuses on motivating the followers to perform more than they are expected. It raises their level of consciousness in terms of essentiality and value of definite and idealized goals. It also moves them to address needs at a higher level (Northouse, 2013). There are various transformational leadership factors that an individual must have to be seen as a transformational leader.
Mayer exemplifies three of these factors. First, she expresses idealized influence, and it applies to the leaders who are role models for their followers. She, in fact, twitted after accepting the job offer praising Yahoo for hiring a pregnant woman (McLean, 2014). She became a role model for many women showing them the possibility to become successful and redefine the traditional gender roles, which have acted as barriers for their success. Her followers and other women all over the world can identify with the hardships associated with balancing parenthood and professionalism. Mayer also expresses the second factor of motivational leadership, which is inspirational motivation, as it has assisted to motivate the employed women to go an extra mile in order to realize their goals. Although she is a CEO, there are many other mothers at different levels of career development. They see the way that she conducts herself and repeat it in their lives.
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Mayer also displays the third factor, which is intellectual stimulation (Northouse, 2013). Her followers get encouraged to challenge the prevalent beliefs regarding working mothers. It has been essential for different women throughout the world, as well as, employees working under her leadership at Yahoo. Transformational leaders have been referred to as societal designers (Northouse, 2013). Mayer’s leadership has transformed and expanded the social values and standards associated with the role of a CEO as she was appointed for the position while she was pregnant. She may also be an influence to other organizations to take similar approaches when appointing employees. Her actions have made it evident to other women that the problems that they face are similar, and they only need to understand their situation and focus on the attainment of their professional and personal goals. The leadership style of Mayer has also transformed them into architects of their destiny.
Charismatic leadership style is expressed through different personality characteristics and actions of leaders, which impact positively on their followers. These characteristics include self-confidence, being a role model and expressing competence (Northouse, 2013). Mayer is a confident woman, and it is one of the traits that have enabled her professional success. She undertakes different major responsibilities at the same time. As it was discussed earlier, she is a role model to numerous people throughout the world. The impact that she has on her followers is evident as numerous people, especially women, believe that they can achieve their goals regardless of the responsibilities associated with motherhood. They have become involved emotionally and their confidence has also increased, which is a positive influence of Mayer. More stories about professional women discussing and sharing their problems have appeared in articles and blogs. It is as a result of Mayer’s proof that women could pursue and succeed in their careers, and be mothers at the same time. Her leadership has changed the social norms relating to the issue.
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Benefits and Drawbacks of Mayer’s Approach to Leadership and Change
After Mayer became the CEO of Yahoo, there was an increase in the public’s expectations from the company to make a turn like Apple did after the return of Steve Jobs (McLean, 2014). It was evident as the company’s share price started increasing. It was expected that within a few months she would make massive changes that would give Yahoo a competitive advantage. Such positive expectations have had favorable effects for the company’s image.
Her leadership style has a positive effect on the followers who believe that she offers a good example for the mothers who pursue professional careers. When a leader has a positive impact on the development of the employees and the followers, he/she becomes an important source of motivation. Such motivation increases productivity among the employees and it enhances the company’s image at the global level.
Mayer’s style of leadership promotes rapid change, which is essential if Yahoo wants to improve its position to begin competing effectively with its major rivals. It is the new changes that will rectify the problem that has led to the company’s loss of market. Therefore, Mayer’s approach will promote changes within the company.
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Among the changes brought in by Mayer as the CEO of Yahoo is a performance check where the employees would be ranked according to their performance, and those who are performing poorly would get fired (McLean, 2014). It is a way of ensuring that the company maintains the given level of talent, and it also improves the performance. It is also a motivation for employees to improve their performance as they need to retain their positions in the company.
Some of the employees and former colleagues at Google have referred to her style of leadership as autocratic (McLean, 2014). Employees often react with resistance when they feel as though their leader dictates what they need to do. At times, it reduces their willingness to participate and make contributions. Therefore, leadership style may deter some of the individuals from contributing.
In the modern world most organizations give their employees the freedom to work from home at least for some time. After joining Yahoo, Mayer made it compulsory for all employees to work from the office daily (Cook, 2013). It could lead to the loss of employees who may view it as an unnecessary move or a move to control them.
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Recommendations to Change Mayer’s Leadership Style
The leadership style applied by Marissa Mayer has been seen as charismatic, as well as transformational. However, further analyses have also indicated that some individuals perceive her as an autocratic leader. It could be that they see her firmness in decision making as autocracy, but it is necessary for her to avoid such traits. In the modern workplace people expected some level of freedom and involvement. They need to feel that their opinions and contributions are respected. They do not need to feel forced into doing different things. It would be necessary for her to practice servant leadership within the organization. Yahoo needs all the input that can be availed from its employees. When employees feel that their leader serves them as opposed to the situation when they serve the leader, they tend to develop and give ideas. The company needs a strategy that will attract traffic flow. As a result, their income will increase. It will be attained once the employees feel that the leader serves the employees and is ready to listen to their suggestions and act on them.
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