Leadership in organization is a very important trend as the leader has a large amount of responsibility to lead the direction and build good organizational culture that expressed the behaviors, rules and values critical to the attainment of an organization’s mission and strategies. Leaders who carry good leadership characteristics will benefit the organization and become an icon within the team.
Tony Fernandes is a CEO of AirAsia. His leadership style is not very clear as sometimes we see him as an autocratic leader. For example, he wanted to install the mechanism for the handicap people at zero cost. He did not make any discussion with anyone. Thus, he adopts a ‘walk around’ management style. Tony Fernandes said “If you sit up in your ivory tower and just look at financial reports, you’re going to make some big mistakes.” Thus, Fernandes believes that employees come first before his customers. He also says that “employees come number one, customers come number two’. He thinks if you have a happy workforce they’ll look after your customers anyway. Otherwise, he also considered as a democratic leader. While once he said during an interview: “We have grown AirAsia together, with everybody pitching in with ideas, actively finding new ways to increase efficiency, improve services by effectively combining technology and the personal touch, and aggressively and smartly marketing our brand,”. Tony also is a situational leader. He makes decision based on the urgent state of that current moment. It may not be something which he likes but he makes the decision because the situation forces him to train his leadership behavior. He is also work as charismatic CEO. His favorite phrase is ‘better value’. If Tony becomes possible to own the concept outright then he wants it.
AirAsia had shown the fast growth trend and the possible to take the leadership in the Malaysian aviation industry. With all of type businesses, employees are the very important human resources that drive the central part of daily’s revenues and profits. Business purpose of AirAsia is based on the company’s mission to be the best company to work for whereby employees are treated as part of a big family. To better combine the employees into the company, AirAsia offer stock options to the employees to share with them the profit and interest brought by the fast growth of the business which close relationship with the hard work has contribute by the employees. The company also treats the employees as human capital through encouraging the staffs to further develop their both hard and soft skills and do the job that they are really interested and the company work hard at providing such opportunities. For example, AirAsia has provided training to employees and there are some stewardess became pilots after the internal training. Tony introduced the work culture in AirAsia has made a big impact on the growth of the organization as the employees were very happy to move forward in the same direction. Being invested in his or her employees will show a leader as concerned and considerate, more like a family in a business rather than just a worker and boss relationship. Employees have been treated as family, they feel very proud to be part of the team. Any ideas for the benefit of the organization are well accepted and the management rewards these outstanding ideas.
Tony Fernandez’s foresight and vision has turned AirAsia to become one popular airline brands in the world. Many observers believe that the successful of AirAsia is caused by the strong leadership of Tony. He was able to create good organizational culture and stressed the importance of working as a team. As the leader in AirAsia, he is easily approachable to all his staff. His office is smack at the heart of the company. Especially his office doesn’t have any walls and doors and then everyone can see him and he also can see everyone. He is in his polo shirt and with his famous baseball cap. All employees are free to enter his office if there is anything important needed discussion and needed an urgent solution. As what he believes in the current business scenario where business has become much more competitive so having too much bureaucracy could slow down the growth of the business.
His leadership emphasizes the importance of good interface among all the staff as he maintains a non-hierarchy practice in the office. He not believe in hierarchical structure and believing in talents within the organization and inspiring employees to achieve their dream as he believes everybody have their own dreams. He strongly believes in teamwork. He seems to use a more transformational approach which emphasizes the importance of having a good relationship with his employees. This could be supported by analyzing his statement in most of the interviews where he mentioned several aspects of transformational dimensions.
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