The Leadership of Henry Ford
"The great need of the world has always been for leaders. With more leaders we could have more industry. More industry, more employment and comfort for all." –Henry Ford Introduction
Henry Ford was the creator of one of the largest automobile manufacturing companies, influencing society in a number of ways and forever changing the face of the auto industry. One of the reasons for his success was the high priority he placed on his employees’ satisfaction. While Ford had much strength he also had weaknesses that held the company back and threatened to destroy it at times. Ford was a notable member of society and a great peace promoter. Ford’s business style and leadership skills throttled him to success. Background
Henry Ford was born in 1863 to farmers in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford grew up living on the farm and attending school, neither of which he was satisfied with (“Henry Ford: The Innovator”). At the age of 16 his dissatisfaction led him to leave home and travel to Detroit to find work (“Henry Ford: The Innovator”). He found work at Edison Illuminating Company under Thomas Edison who constantly encouraged him to toy with engines and be creative (“Henry Ford: The Innovator”). Ford’s tinkering led to the Quadricycle and eventually his first motor company, Detroit Automobile Co. in 1899 (“Henry Ford: The Innovator”). The Detroit Automobile Co. failed shortly after it began and he created a new company, Henry Ford, Co., which lasted about one year (“Henry Ford: The Innovator”). Ford turned to racing and managed to attract investors with $28,000 to begin his new company, Ford Motor in 1903 (“Henry Ford: The Innovator”). The auto industry was young and robust at the time (“Henry Ford: The Innovator”). Most companies were just starting with more and more entering the industry every week (“The Great Leaders Series”). Competition was fierce and the threat of new entrants was very high (“Henry Ford: The Innovator”). Ford ran the company until 1919 when he retired, letting his son Edsel take control (“Henry Ford: The Innovator”). Edsel died in 1943 and Henry came out of retirement until 1947 when he retired for the final time (“Henry Ford: The Innovator”). Treatment of Employees
Henry Ford created a healthy, efficient, and attractive workplace so that he could retain his employees and attract the best. When Ford learned that his turnover rate was becoming a problem, he increased the pay rate to $5 and decreased the shift length to eight hours (“The Great Leaders Series”). This was unheard of in society at the time (“The Great Leaders Series”). Many people criticized Ford for this change but Ford knew that by decreasing the shift length, he could create three shifts (“The Great Leaders Series”). Creating three shifts would allow the factories to work around the clock without tiring the employees extensively (“The Great Leaders Series”). By making the process more efficient, Ford decreased his costs and was able to make up for the increased employee wages and even was able to lower the cost of the car for consumers (“The Great Leaders Series”).
Henry Ford believed in some form of the Helzberg model. He understood the importance of work and how without work, man cannot reach fulfillment (Wood). Ford believed we were created for work and constantly challenged his employees to work harder and achieve more (Wood).
Ford was concerned for the welfare of his workers and created a department of welfare sociology in his company (“Innovator, Industrialist, Outdoorsman”). Part of this department ensured that the higher wages he paid his employees were not being used to buy alcohol or cigarettes (“Innovator, Industrialist, Outdoorsman”). This policy kept his workers healthy and thus more efficient.
Henry Ford valued his employees and showed that by paying extremely high wages compared to the industry average. He created a healthy work environment and was able to retain his current employees...
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