The management of any institution will greatly depend on the kind of leadership that is in place within the institution. It is because the decisions that those who are in the leadership positions make affect not just the productivity of the organization but also the clients and the employees of the institution. As such, leadership has to take into consideration the consequences of the decisions that it makes to the entire community within which the institution operates from and with.
Weighing all the factors associated with the decision making process and how it affects those in the institution will determine the extent to which the various changes made in an institution are effective in meeting the organizational goals, not to mention the nature with which the employees approach their responsibilities. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos Company is a perfect example of how effective leadership can be instituted in an organization so as to attract and maintain customers and have employees who are constantly motivated to do their work.
Leadership at Zappos
Leadership is all about understanding those who are affected by the various decisions in a company and giving them a reason to keep being part and parcel of the institution’s activities. It explains why Tony Hsieh focuses on the aspect of company culture. According to him, it is important that leaders invest in the culture of a company so that the members become part and parcel of the institution’s program, and they can always carry a personalized image of the company (Annan, 2010). Carrying a personalized image, in this case, implies that the employees take it as their personal responsibility to ensure that the company prospers in its organizational objectives.
The employees learn and embrace the changes that target improving the customer relations within the organization so as to ensure customer satisfaction in all the services that it gives. It is the responsibility of the leaders to teach the employees how they need to serve the customers not just as a role that they have been entrusted with but rather because they really want to ensure that the customers get the best out of their options. He believes that leadership should be about those being in the management positions embracing the values that they expect in their employees before expecting the employees to meet such expectations.
The open leadership that Zappos has can be attributed to the above-mentioned facts that help to foster and nurture open leadership skills at the front lines. It empowers the employees to make customer oriented decisions without having to be answerable to the management in any way. In such a situation, the company trusts that the employees will make decisions that are not just satisfactory to the customers but will also help in the achievement of the organizational goals. Taking such an approach in making decisions and dealing with the customers is associated with the fact that the leaders feel comfortable from the onset playing the role of a catalyst and fostering open leadership skills and mannerisms given that they too practiced such skills on the front lines.
The leaders can relate to their employees when making decisions and as such they expect the employees to make appropriate decisions all the time without guidance. It does not compromise on the quality of services that the clients get, neither does it compromise on the performance of the organization.
Creating a culture that has an open leadership as it is the case with Zappos Company requires that the leader carries the mantle and the burden of establishing that vision and communicating it to the employees continuously. It should become the core of the culture that is being fostered whereby being open becomes the main theme. To do this, a leader has to have incentives, recognition, examples that are used in the organization and the success stories that are constantly repeated as a way of slowly creating a culture of openness. Its culture of being open has to be infused in all the areas of the organization, and it is a continuous process that will continue for as long as the company is in business. Choosing this path when it comes to management of the company ensures that the company gets passionate employees, excellent performance and can only attract the best talent in an organization.
Creating an open leadership culture ensures that a company has a long-term vision and purpose. Tony Hsieh has created a culture of passion in Zappos to an extent that he would pay people not to join the company, just to ensure that he has passionate people for the company. This culture of being passionate ensures that it gives every member a voice and encourages them to bring out their true selves on the job (Li, 2010). It is an indication of the fact that Hsieh does not only focus on the achievement of the organizational goals, but instead will focus on bringing the holistic individual. From a personal perspective, it becomes apparent that if one can tap into the vision that he/she has for his/her life, the life of another individual and by extension the world, it is possible to surpass the expectations that one has for him/herself. When the employees embrace the demands of their jobs, and they do not just do it for the money, they will most definitely be motivated to perform their responsibilities without feeling bothered.
Employees and Leadership
The decision to empower employees to be able to make their decisions about different issues in an organization serves to ensure that they are motivated as they go about their duties. By being exposed to the repeated stories about the company values, the employees will take it as their personal responsibility to succeed in the organization at whatever costs while upholding the company values. Eventually, it will impact on the organizational performance positively suppose the employees have the right mental fit. To do this, the Zappos uses a two-step hiring process in getting the right employees (Phillips & Gully, 2013).
First, applicants are evaluated based on their skills and the experience that they have as a way of ensuring that can fit the job. Secondly, they are interviewed to evaluate their attitudes, values and character for the Zappos culture. Once an individual passes these tests, they are offered $2000 to leave the company, of which it is reported that approximately 10 percent of the employees take the offer (Phillips & Gully, 2013). It may sound crazy, but this strategy is important in sieving out those who are not passionate about the business.
Zappos culture has been instrumental in improving and sustaining the company’s productivity through the years by investing in the employees. When employees are motivated to perform their responsibilities, they will do their best regardless of the circumstances in which they have to perform. They are not only focused on getting the client what he/she wants but also talking to the customer about some of their options in light of the choices that he/she has made. In such a situation, client satisfaction is their priority since they believe in attracting and maintaining customer loyalty.
This personalized approach is what makes the customers motivated to return to the same company to get other products because of the experience that they initially had in the same place. It confirms the ‘wow’ effect that the company wants to have on its customers from time to time. Leaving an impression on the customers is a priority for the employees, and it is also a reflection of their belief in client satisfaction. Cumulatively, it paves the way for improved performance from every department in the organization and eventually the productivity will increase.
Leadership within an organization requires that the employees embrace the vision that the institution expects to carry from them. As a result of this, they will approach the institutional goals from a personalized perspective and ensure that they contribute to the achievement of the organizational goals. Tony Hsieh understands the value of hiring employees who are passionate about their jobs in ensuring that they meet the organizational goals. From his leadership approach, one can understand the reason as to why the company has very many repeat customers who are happy to be members of the Zappos community. Doing business with Zappos Company is not just inspiring but it also helps in setting an example as to what constitutes effective leadership.
Annan, S. (2010). Aimbitious: A life of enlightened self-leadership, a new philosophy on living a life of passion, purpose, and ultimate fulfillment. New York: iUniverse.
Li, C. (2010). Open leadership: How social technology can transform the way you lead. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Phillips, J. M., & Gully, S. M. (2013). Human resource management. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Centage Learning.