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    Influential Corporate Leaders Essay

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    What is leadership? The definition of the term leadership varies from individual to individual. However, the universal or at least the all in composing definition of the term Leadership is a process of social guidance, and influences that capitalize on the followers towards the attainment of a goal. Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2006). It is important to note that leadership does not entail power or authority nor does is it making direct reports. Different leaders have different styles of leading others and for this research paper, the focus will be on Brian Chesky and Mary Bara as we analyze their different leadership styles and why even though their styles are different, there are still influential.

    Brian Chesky

    Born on August 29, 1981, Mr. Chesky is the co-founder of the renowned Airbnb and an internet entrepreneur. Apart from being the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), he was ranked in the top 100 Most Influential People in 2015. With a net worth of over 2.8 billion dollars, it is safe to say that he started working as a normal employee in 3DID Botsman, R. A. C. H. E. L., & Capelin, L. A. U. R. E. N. (2015). As earlier mentioned, he is now the CEO of Airbnb and applies the following leadership styles in this organization.

    Believing in others- as a beginner in the market, Brain Chesky says that his ideas were rejected a lot of investors. He says that investors saw him as being mentally impaired. This doubt from investors made him fight for the growth of the small startup. Together with his two partners, the trio was totally convinced that this airbag and breakfast idea would work and were willing to work on it. The story of how the company gained its success is well known, today as the CEO in the organization, Brain welcomes any form of creativity from his employees. He believes in listening and paying attention to the ideas from those below him. According to him, no idea is a bad idea, he tries his employees to remain creative and innovative in all ways.

    Allowing curiosity and seeking help- Brian allows a working example to his followers. How? When the company was starting, he took on the role of being the leader despite having no entrepreneurial skills. He took full responsibility for the mistakes he did and was open to seeking guidance and advice from others Sampler, J. L. (2018). As a leader now, Chesky allows his employees to seek more knowledge and take part in activities that may expand the operation of the organization. He is well aware of the demands in the industry they chose to venture in and thus provides his employees with room for mistakes and is ever present to advise and guide them through the course. Back in 2011, was focusing on improving its customer services, Brian knew that for the success of the program to happen, he would be fully engaged. He decided to live in the 30 plus locations the company owned. In the process, he used the services they provided, and from that, he was able to figure out what adjustments were needed. When employees see their leaders being hands-on in the company’s development projects, they are more encouraged to be a part of the activity.

    Being calm in times of crisis- in 2011, the company was faced with a major crisis, one that it had not experienced before. It had happened that a renter destroyed the host’s house in San Francisco and ran away with the owner’s valuables. At that moment, the owner of the house was out on a business trip and on coming back, he posted the incidence on her blog, and it went viral. People were waiting on Chesky’s response to the situation as he was the CEO. Weeks later following the disaster, on the company’s blog, Brian wrote a message to his consumers. In the message, he admitted that the incidence had made him reach a point where the priorities in his life had changed. He said that it was time for him to stop his obsession over the outcome and place his focus on the principles. He admitted that the incident had impacted negatively on the company’s performance and that the team at large agreed that they had messed up. The owner of the destroyed house need reassurance and it was upon the company to do so instead of offering a simple apology. However, he admitted that his organization was not ready to face such a scenario. However, he brought the ball back to his court when he said that Airbnb would give a total of $50,000 to all home-owners (renters) in protection. He made this announcement despite being advised not to do so. This decision made him gain applause and respect from the people in the industry as well as his veteran leaders Isaacson, W. A. L. T. E. R., Lashinsky, A., & Gallagher, L. (2017). His followers here saw a leader who despite the mistake done by the organization, he was able to reassure his consumers and go an extra mile of offering a guarantee fee. It is important for a leader to accept, and admit wrong if it is done, and take the correct responsibility.

    Mary Barra- was born in December 1961 as Mary Teresa Barra is the CEO and Chairwoman of General Motors Company. Mary Barra is the first-ever female CEO of a major global organization and has held the position of CEO of GMC since 2014. With an annual earning of about 21.96 million dollars, the 51-year-old woman is an influential leader in not only GMC but also the community at large as she is a board member of Disney and Stanford University Colby, L. (2015).

    Leadership Qualities of Mary Barra

    Collaboration- those in close contact with Mrs. Barra can attest to that she like pooling ideas, a consensus approach. She normally conducts town hall meetings with the aim of pooling as many inputs as she can from others. After long discussions, she is known for making tough decisions. In an article from Loa Angeles Times, Barra says that after every serious discussion, decisions need to be made, and there is no uniformity, she is not afraid of stepping in and taking the risk. She enjoys constructive tension as it allows people to examine issues from various angles Colby, L. (2015). For decisions to be incorporated in organizations, employees need to be fully involved in the decision-making process. When employees are involved, they feel like a part of the organization. An influential leader knows the value to employees’ input and will try to incorporate in decisions that directly affect them.

    Openness to a variety of inputs- those who work with and under Barra can confirm that she is fond of creating an all-inclusive environment that allows her employees to attain a certain level of confidence to air out their opinions. Upon receiving these opinions, Barra gauges their efficacy and provides immediate feedback. When people feel free to air out their opinions, they feel good, and when these opinions are taken with importance and they are given feedback, the employees develop a certain sense of importance in the organization. Employees at GMC have recommended her skills in listening and approachability.

    The predilection to invention- Barra is credited for the improvement in the sales of Chevrolet Malibu in 2012. This was after she led a team of expert who made several enhancements of the model and gave it a total facelift. In addition, when happened auto crisis, Barra was able to increase the efficiency of the company through innovation and manufacturing more vehicles that would share similar parts. Her innovations also allowed General Motors Company’s department of product development and purchasing to work together, a move unknown to them Gover, J. (2017). Barra is an influential leader in GM as her actions directly positively affected the organization’s structure and how it conducted its activities.

    Approval of technology to boost innovation- in an interview with the Stanford Alumni Magazine, Barra said that it is her role to keep up with advancement in technology for consumers to choose. She said that if GMC has the appropriate technologies that assist in the delivery of fuel economy, and at the same time the company is able to offer a variety of products that meet consumers’ needs, then the company wins Powell, G. N., & Butterfield, D. A. (2015). Barra has been able to produce very effective and efficient teams that have helped create and maintain the world’s largest auto manufacturer.

    How are These Two Leaders Similar Even Though Their Leadership Style May be Seen as Different

    The two leaders are aware of the value that employees have in their organizations and extensively exploit their potential for the benefit of the firm. One organization operates under the essence of trust and honesty while the other is about improving sales in the market. However, the two companies are led by leaders who are more concerned with meeting the needs and wants of consumers.

    Creation of a friendly working environment in both organizations has allowed these two leaders to influence their employees into becoming individuals who are able to questions projects instead of the ‘yes yes’ employees. When employees are given the power to questions changes in the organization, it is evident that they have been empowered and are not operating under a monarchy.

    The Difference in Style That May be Attributed to Gender

    In a male-dominated industry, Barra has to prove over and over that she is the right person to occupy the CEO chair and that is why she takes full charge of the final decision. On the other hand, Brian has nothing to convince his followers as people believe managers are men. The ‘think-manager-think-male’ stereotype directly affect the way Barra conducts her daily activities.

    Perceivers’ sex is another factor that affects men and women in leadership. In that, males evaluate females more negatively relative to males than women do Klenke, K. (Ed.). (2017).


    A leader can be influential no matter the style of leadership they employ as long as they empower those they lead. Being a leader is not all about power and position, leadership is more than that, is being able to serve and mobilize your followers.


    1. Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2006). Transformational leadership. Psychology Press.
    2. Botsman, R. A. C. H. E. L., & Capelin, L. A. U. R. E. N. (2015). Airbnb: building a revolutionary travel company. Said Business School Case.
    3. Colby, L. (2015). Road to Power: How GM’s Mary Barra Shattered the Glass Ceiling. John Wiley & Sons.
    4. Gover, J. (2017). Reflections-Mary Barra. IEEE Engineering Management Review, 45(2), 9-13.
    5. Isaacson, W. A. L. T. E. R., Lashinsky, A., & Gallagher, L. (2017). How Uber and Airbnb Became Poster Children for the Disruption Economy. The New York Times.
    6. Klenke, K. (Ed.). (2017). Women in leadership: Contextual dynamics and boundaries. Emerald Group Publishing.
    7. Powell, G. N., & Butterfield, D. A. (2015). The glass ceiling: what have we learned 20 years on? Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 2(4), 306-326.
    8. Sampler, J. L. (2018). Platforms That Grow Are More Than Matchmakers. MIT Sloan Management Review, 60(1), 1-5.

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