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Effective Leadership Practices

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Effective Leadership Practices Project – Leona Helmsley

Introduction The leader I selected is Leona Helmsley. The success of the Helmsley name and ultimate development of their family fortune has often been attributed to Helmsley’s leadership and influence. Though her reputation as a highly successful hotelier and real estate mogul precedes her she was also a very complex woman and, frankly, not very well liked. I chose Mrs. Helmsley because her because I was intrigued by her ability to maintain her complexity while continuing to garner success.
The Helmsley Definition of Leadership I didn’t find any direct quotes from Mrs. Helmsley about her definition of leadership, but based upon what various reports have stated regarding how she treated her employees I gathered that Mrs. Helmsley ascribed to the Autocratic leadership style. Dr. Don Warrick (1981) from the University of Colorado describes the Autocratic Leader as one who has a,
High emphasis on performance and a low emphasis on people. (They) Assume that people are lazy, irresponsible, and untrustworthy and that planning, organizing, controlling, and decision-making should be accomplished by the leader with minimal employee involvement. (They) Rely on authority, control, power, manipulation and hard work to get the job done. (pg. 158) One account given said she was a “nit-picking perfectionist who would throw a fit if an ashtray was missing, or a doorknob wasn’t polished or some item was missing in a bathroom.” (Samuelson, 2011, pg.64) Although this approach to leadership heavily impaired her ability to connect with her employees, the expectation she was able to set for her customers was utterly remarkable. Upon entering one of her hotels you could expect a certain standard of excellence and execution that was unparalleled. Mrs. Helmsley led with an iron fist, but that iron fist led to a billion…...

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