City University London
Air Safety Management, MSc
Choose a leader from industry – preferably an airline, airport authority, ATC service or air force leader – and discuss: Industry leader chosen for this work is Juan T. Trippe.
Question 1 - What leadership styles account for their success? Introduction
Juan Trippe was the founder and chairman of the board of directors of Pan American Airways (Pan Am). Before describing Trippe’s leadership styles, we shall define what leadership style is. Northouse (2012 ,p52) defines leadership style as “the behaviours of leaders, focusing on what leaders do and how they act”. According Gardner (1990), leadership style is the way in which a group of people is persuaded to work towards a common goal. Styles commonly found in literature include authoritative, autocratic, coaching, coercive, democratic, laissez-faire, managerial, transactional and transformational. Leaders use one style, called the dominating style, more often than other styles. (Northouse 2012).
First evidence of Juan Trippe’s management style is found in his leadership role as the editor of the Yale Graphic. He was demanding and put great attention to detail. According Carpenter (2011), he exhibited a micromanaging style that was “loathed” by his subordinates at Pan Am later on. At Pan Am, Juan Trippe often acted without informing the board of directors or discussing his ideas. Often he would call a meeting of the board just to approve actions already takeni. He pushed people to work hard late into the night and gave very few rewards. He showed no interest in building relationships with employees. According Alef (2011) “He was respected, if not well liked. He did not know his employees by name and could care less.” In 1939 when C.V. Whitney was nominated as the CEO of Pan Am, Trippe started intimidating employees who were ‘friendly’ with Whitney. Less than a year later when Trippe was again appointed as the CEO, he punished all those who were ‘too friendly’ with Whitney .
Juan Trippe made most of the decisions himself and didn’t tell anyone what he was doing. He was not interested in building relationships. He was known to resort to intimidation and punishment. “Autocratic leaders insist on doing it all themselves. They have the power, make all the decisions, and often don’t tell anyone else about what they’re doing…An autocratic leader often maintains his authority by force, intimidation, punishment…” (Rabinowitz n.d.) Conclusion
The author concludes that Juan T. Trippe’s dominating leadership style was autocratic.
Question 2 - What leadership skills/behaviours can you identify that this individual has exhibited? Introduction
Although many different skills are required of leaders, they are usually grouped into: technical, human and conceptual (Katz 1974). Northouse (2012) calls them administrative, interpersonal and conceptual. Technical skills refer to a leader’s competencies in managing resources, people and organizing work. Human skills refer to abilities such as emotional intelligence, managing interpersonal conflicts and building relationships. Conceptual skills refer to abilities to create visions, do strategic planning and solve problems. Critique
Juan Trippe’s conceptual and technical leadership skills became evident in 1922 when he, acting as the CEO of Long Island Airways realized he could double the profit if he could fly two passengers instead of one. The aeroplanes they operated were designed to carry only one passenger. Juan Trippe found a way to install a more powerful engine and create space for the second passenger that enabled him to offer service few could i. Tripp was also very successful in finding competent people. He chose Andre Priester to run Pan Am operations in order to dedicate his own time to long term planning. Priester proved to be an excellent operations managerii. Trippe understood that if his airline was to cross...
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