What types of leaders might be present in a company such as Macy's?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A multi-million dollar national retailer such as Macy's Corporation must count on a strong and multifaceted leadership that is able to do the most important performances of quality assurance which are:

a) knowing the parameters of personal, financial, and business negotiation.

b) to be willing to transform the company's dynamics to conform to the vision and mission of the corporation.

c) to understand, tolerate, and perhaps even embrace the diversity of personality types that operate together for the good of the company.

As most types of business models propose, each part of a system should be as good as the system as a whole.

According to Montgomery Van Wart in Leadership in Public Organizations, the types of leaders which inspire their organizations with a feverish, near-rockstar attitude that invites others to follow their business practices are called the charismatic leaders. Macy's charismatic leaders may display the characteristics that Van Wart lists on this type of leader:

... passion, confidence, and exceptional ability to persuade and sway people.  But these same abilities may also predispose the leader toward a variety of dysfunctional behaviors over time… 

Therefore, Macy's record of consistent quality service and quality products render them less viable to tolerate too many charismatic leadership types unless it is at a less influential level. This is because, as the literature points, charismatic leaders begin to get too used to getting the attention and, at times, that is all that the start striving for.

Another type of leadership style that is quite evident at Macy's is the transactional type. This style is described by Van Wart as one in which the focus remains the same and, being that the focus is the betterment of the organization, the leader takes every step necessary to succeed; this includes the willingness to enter new territories, to deal with different people, and to take small risks all for the sake of success. In Van Wart's words:

The basis of self-interests and immediate needs of the followers are the focus, ranging from pay to clear instructions to adequate resources and working conditions. 

Therefore, a leader such as Terry J. Lundgren as President and CEO of Macy's is much closer to meet this leadership model as a man who is willing to put his own weaknesses aside and even appears on national television (albeit, not all the time), to promote the interest of the people as Macy's main policy.

The third leadership style is transformational, which could also fall under Lundgren. This is because the transformational leader sees things differently and uses a number of focal points to assure success. Let us not forget that in 2008 Macy's experienced both a drop and a quick raise in assets. It was Lundgren's quick thinking and ability to multitask what prevented the company to lose assets even in a shaky economy. The transformational leader does not stop at accomplishment, but continuously explores the possibility of new goals and objectives. It is a type of "Steve Jobs" kind of leader which is under constant self-actualization and believes that, as the world changes, so should we. Since Macy's has always evolved with the times, we can certainly agree that the leadership is also transformational.



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