In the contemporary business environment, the competition is constantly progressing and even renowned leaders, such as the General Motors Corporation have to develop new strategies and implement effective leadership styles to maintain the competitive position on the globalized market. In this respect, it is necessary to focus on the maintenance of a positive brand image of the company, meet long range and short range objectives to maximize the organizational performance in a short-run perspective and maintain the competitive position of the company in a long-run perspective. At the same time, the achievement of different sets of objectives may imply the application of different leadership styles which effectiveness can vary depending on the environment, which they are applied in, and on the objectives, which are supposed to be met.
First of all, it should be said that the General Motors Corporation should primarily focus on the formation of a positive public image of the corporation and maintenance of the popularity of its brand. In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the brand and public image of the company are of the paramount importance in the contemporary business environment. Moreover, brand constitutes an essential part of the market value of the company because a renowned brand can facilitate the penetration of new markets and maintaining a large share in the existing markets where the company has already got an extensive experience of operation.
At the same time, to create a positive public image of the company and its brand, it is necessary to make the entire organization conscious of the ultimate goals and mission of the company. What is meant here is the fact that employees working in the General Motors Corporation should understand the strategic goals of the company and importance of the formation of a positive public image of the company and its brand. Thus, they will be able to pay more attention to the quality of their work and they will be likely to attempt to improve their work, its productivity and efficiency.
However, to meet this objective the leader should implement a visionary leadership style. In fact, the visionary leadership style is particularly effective because it implies the formation of a broad vision of the company not only by its leaders but also by their subordinates and employees. In actuality, this means that people working at the General Motors Corporation will understand the major objectives of the company and, what is more important, they will perceive the company as the whole. They will not view it as an abstract, meaningless organization, but the leader should make them conscious of the fact that every unit of the organization, every employee is a part of the whole organization. In this respect, the leader should amply inform employees about the general development of the entire company, its goals and achievements. In addition, the leader needs to involve employees in the development of strategies of the company. For instance, employees should have an opportunity to discuss the strategic goals of the company and ways of their achievement and they can give their recommendations concerning the improvement of the company’s performance, its brand and public image.
At the same time, it is very important to meet long range objectives of the company. In the contemporary business environment, the major priority of the General Motors Corporation is the maintenance of its competitive position, in face of the growing competition from the part of Japanese and Chinese car manufacturers, who steadily gain the larger share of not only foreign markets but also of the American market, which was traditionally the domain of the General Motors and other American companies.
Obviously, the achievement of the aforementioned long range objective should be based on an effective leadership style. In this respect, it is possible to recommend using the pace setting style, because it is one of the most effective styles that can be applied in terms of a close competitive struggle. In fact, the pace setting style implies that the leader set certain standards and goals which the company should meet and these standards and goals should correspond to the current competitive environment and to the standards and goals of major rivals of the General Motors Corporation. In this respect, it is important to set goals and standards which are higher than existing standards and which are a bit higher than the organization and its employees can actually met. The employees need to be oriented on the higher standards and goals than they can actually achieve because, in such a way, they get used to think of their organization as the leader in the industry and that its standards are traditionally high. In such a way, they will be motivated to work better and harder to meet the goals and set up by the leader.
At the same time, motivation is also important for the achievement of short range objectives. In regard to the General Motors Corporation the short range objective is the retention of the interest of shareholders that can be achieved through the improvement of the organizational culture, formation of a positive organizational culture and high level of employees’ motivation. Traditionally, motivation was closely interlinked with some material reward, which was considered to be the strongest stimuli that can encourage the positive performance of an employee.
However, the recent researches have revealed the fact that the performance of an organization can be consistently improved through the improvement of the internal atmosphere within an organization through the improvement of the organizational behavior and creation of a positive organizational culture. On the other hand, it is necessary to understand the fact that the positive results in the development of organizational behavior could be primarily achieved through the effective motivation. Obviously, it is practically impossible to keep employee constantly motivated through material rewards only. In this respect, specialists underline the important of non-material motivation. For instance, the formation of the positive organizational culture can motivated consistently the performance of employees as they are satisfied with their workplace environment and relationships with other employees and the administration of the organization.
It is believed that the formation of positive organizational culture could be reached through the formation of liberal and democratic management style. In such a way, employees are supposed to be motivated as they feel that they are important for the company and that they are equal in relationships with other members of a team. Obviously, the role of leaders in this regard could hardly be underestimated because using democratic style of management they could make people to accept their ideas and meet the desirable objectives.
However, it is worthy of mention that in recent years the traditional views on motivation and leadership have started to change. To put it more precisely, the democratic and liberal relationships between leaders and employees, which were viewed as a strong motivating factors for employees to improve their performance, are nowadays considered to be not as effective as they used to be just a few years ago. What is really important nowadays is the flexibility of the management style of leaders and the high autonomy and independence of employees as a very important motivating factor. In this respect, it is necessary to point out that nowadays leadership is not viewed as some exceptional or innate ability or gift. Instead, it is considered to be an important managerial ability that can be taught and developed regardless the internal inclinations of an individual. Naturally, the success of the teaching and training of leadership qualities may vary depending on the inclination and internal potential of a person, but, nowadays, it is believed that a really effective manager should be also a leader. In such a way, a manager will be able to achieve the most effective results, while the motivation could much more effective if the personnel perceives the manager as a leader.
At the same time, in the contemporary business environment it seems to be obvious that the autonomy and independence of employees may, to a significant extent, minimize the risk of such conflicts between formal and informal leaders, though it does not mean that the high autonomy of employees decreases the significance of leadership and makes motivation unnecessary. In fact, specialists view the high autonomy of employees as an effective means to increase the positive impact of motivation of managers on employees and the decrease of the risk of the development of informal leadership and its growing significance for employees. It is argued that through the high autonomy of employees they will become less dependent on informal leaders because they will realize their own significance and importance for a company, while the motivation from the part of managers will stimulate them to improve their performance because they will be conscious of the fact that they make a consistent contribution into the development of the company, while the latter directly influences their own well-being and future perspectives in this company. It is also worthy of mention that such a strategy is particularly effective in relation to creative people, who are nowadays considered to be the most valuable employees, because the independence for such people is a strong stimuli that can motivate such employees to fully realize their potential and implement their innovative ideas.
The latter can be very useful since in the contemporary business environment innovations can provide an organization with the strategic competitive advantage compared to its major rivals. Nowadays, gaining competitive advantages through the effective motivation and leadership is particularly important because of the growing competition and the decreasing opportunities for the use of traditional motivation factors such as material reward, for instance.
Thus, in conclusion, it should be said that the General Motors Corporation should focus on the implementation of visionary, pace setting and democratic leadership styles to meet its abstract, long range and short range objectives respectively. In fact, the leadership styles suggested above are the most effective in the contemporary business environment.