3 Successful Companies That Lead With Highly Effective Management Styles

What is the recipe for effective management? Is it expertise, a good training program, or something else? The answer depends on who you ask.

Jack Ma, the founder and CEO of Alibaba, is applauded for his leadership style. Lifehack, a popular lifestyle website, lists some of the qualities that make Ma such an effective and admirable business leader, saying that he “values attitude,” “unites people under a single goal,” and, “defines failure as giving up.”

Students of business management and leadership can study Ma’s example to learn about one of the most outstanding businesspeople of this century. However, other companies also have effective management styles. Take a look at a few of these companies and their keys to successful leadership.

GE Puts Experts at the Helm

Josh Bersin, a contributor for Forbes who specializes in talent management and leadership, noted that successful businesses often have experts at the helm. In an article he wrote in 2012, he explained, “I don’t mean experts at management, but experts at the business itself. The days of building ‘great general managers’ are now over, and highly successful leaders are now great engineers, scientists, and sales people who really understand the business itself.”

GE exemplifies this philosophy. Bersin points out that leaders at GE must spend at least five years within a particular department of the business. This gives the leaders a deep understanding of how the business works and equips them to make insightful decisions.

UPS Pays Attention to All Levels of Leadership

Image via Flickr by David Guo’s Master

A different Forbes article written by Josh Bersin takes the stand that it often isn’t a single person — namely, the CEO — that determines the success or failure of a business. Rather, it is the overreaching leadership strategy that determines how a business performs.

UPS’s approach to leadership serves the company well. UPS provides well-rounded training for its mid-level supervisors, the people who are on the front lines of the business. Back in 2010, the Vice President of Learning and Development for UPS said, “We realize effective leadership development takes time and planning … The overall investment for developing our people is actually higher than our estimate.”

In 2012, Bersin noted that UPS seeks to hire from within and that it has a “deep-rooted leadership culture.”

Google Focuses on Innovation

In 2013, Laura He, a contributor for Forbes, claimed that Google’s management practices are partly responsible for the company’s outstanding success.

Google’s management promotes innovation:

  • The Ivey Business Journal, points out that Google’s management allows employees to devote up to 10 percent of their time to pursue their own ideas. A significant portion of Google’s new products comes from this time.
  • The Journal also says that within Google, ideas are judged as standalone items, not simply as an extension of the person who created them. This means that a person’s title may not be as important as his or her contribution to the company’s projects.

As the above examples show, there are a range of possible leadership styles within companies. There is no single recipe for successful management. However, by studying successful examples, new business leaders can glean ideas for how to put together leadership strategies that move their companies forward.