Unilever: Leadership Knows No Boundaries

Topics: Management, Leadership, Corporate governance Pages: 4 (1418 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Unilever: Leadership Knows No Boundaries

Leadership is a complex subject that has been defined by numerous experts and theorists in nearly every industry around the world. There are as many definitions for leadership as there are companies that profess to be focused on leading their firms effectively. But merely talking about leadership and its application to the business world is no match for the application of leadership principles used to guide a firm’s decision-making and strategy.

According to Stephen Covey, in order to be effective one must be focused on being proactive, seeking understanding, working together, as well as focusing on the end goal. These characteristics could also hold true when evaluating leaders.

Michael Brunner summarizes his viewpoint on leadership in stating: “No matter which leadership philosophy you subscribe to, you must continue to innovate and grow, in good times or in bad. Seek new approaches to old problems. Be open to new perspectives, no matter their source. Your ability to evolve as an individual and as a leader is what distinguishes you from others, and it's essential to the continued success of your business, your job satisfaction and your personal prosperity. Leading such a firm as Unilever is no small feat and to do this effectively takes strong leadership skills.

A Long and Storied Past

Unilever was formed in 1930, even though the companies that make up this corporation were in existence before the turn of the twentieth century. In the early years, the primary focus was on products consisting of oils and fats, such as soap and margarine. The corporation experienced such rapid expansion that it nearly outpaced its supply of raw materials. Throughout the early 1900s Unilever experienced tough economic conditions including the Great Depression and World War II. By the mid-1900s Unilever was well in command of their products, and had garnered a significant share of the marketplace while pursuing opportunities...
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