Leadership Experience Essay: Brian Chesky’s leadership style
Describe and analyse Brian Chesky’s leadership style. Clearly identify how his leadership style has assisted him in becoming leader and what is charisma relative to this leadership style?
What are the similarities and contrasts with your attributes:
1. Charisma- office holder, personalised celebrity
3. Personalised power motive
6. Dark triad
7. Risk taker
9. Path goal
10. Achievement oriented
11. Ethical egoism
12. Groups proximity
13. Position powder
14. Motivation- personal
16. Estj personality
18. Transactional leadership
21. Discussion not dialogue
Please following the Individual Paper Structure and content
Reference list (MINIMUM OF 16 JOURNAL ARTICLES) Need supporting theory and Literature, also academic reference
NEED TO FOLLOWING THE Building foundation
1) Words per sentence – 15 to 25. Beyond 30, the sentence is running on
2) Sentences per paragraph – 6 to 10. Approx 120 to 200 words
3) Paragraphs start with topic sentence – the theme of the paragraph
4) Theory is used to analyse the case – do not recite the theory
-The topic sentence is the theme of the paragraph
-Theory is linked to the facts that you have found/identified
-Supporting sentences build the argument/position presented in the topic sentence
Leadership Evaluation: Brian Chesky’s Leadership Style
Leadership can be thought of as the process through which one individual influences others towards a shared goal. It can be formal or informal. Formal leadership usually involves the exercise of authoritative power, a delegated form of power that is derived from their position of influence. Good leadership is an imperative for success in any organization. This essay evaluates Brian Chesky’s leadership style. Chesky is an American internet entrepreneur, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, a hospitality exchange service. Airbnb is an internet sharing service where people can list, find and rent lodging. The aim of the essay is to describe Chesky’s leadership style with reference to several common leadership traits. Moreover, the essay will also provide a comparison between Chesky’s and the authors leadership traits.
Brian Chesky’s Leadership Style Assessment and Comparison
Airbnb has a very unconventional structure. The company is one of a series of other online platforms that encourage peer-to-peer commerce (Cohen & Sundararajan, 2015). Airbnb essentially allows individuals to host other people in their homes. This structure makes those renting out their houses quasi-employees of Airbnb, in the sense that they receive monetary compensation in their role as providers of hospitality and accommodation. Airbnb promotes self-management through practices such as self-advertising, self-creation and self-administration (Carrión, 2015). There are instances whereby these individuals renting out their houses turn into clients, when they are themselves seeking accommodation services. This breeds a mutual codependency or a client-employee. The unconventional nature of Airbnb forms the context within which Chesky’s leadership must be evaluated.
Chesky’s overall leadership style can be described as a transformational leadership approach. Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that is characterized by charisma and a shared vision between the leader and his followers (Lai, 2011). Transformational leadership has five dimensions to it. These are: two types of idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration (Bass & Riggio, 2006). The review of Chesky carried out indicates that he exhibits all of these dimensions. Each of the identified dimensions is discussed below.
The first dimension or rather, the first two dimensions of transformative leadership that Chesky possesses are idealized influences. Idealized influence is also referred to as charismatic leadership. There are two types of idealized influence, hence why the consideration as two dimensions. The first type is attributed idealized influence, while the second is behavioral idealized influence. Charismatic leadership describes how much leaders are able to serve as role models to their followers (Lai, 2011).
Attributed idealized influence attends to the traits assigned to the leader. It represents others view of the leader, and whether they view him as being confident (Elenkov & Manev, 2005). Followers need to feel confident in a leader as this increases their level of commitment. One of the instances that brought out Chesky’s attributed idealized influence is a crisis incident in 2011 (this incident is described in another paragraph below). Chesky’s handling of the incident created confidence amongst his employees. Fortune quotes the head of product management at Airbnb as saying “That was the turning point where I had 100% confidence in this company’s leadership … threw at us”. This is an excellent illustration of Chesky’s attributed idealized influence.
The other type of idealized influence is behavioral idealized influence, which represents how the leader acts based on his beliefs and values (Elenkov & Manev, 2005). In this sense, behavioral idealized influence is more active than is attributed idealized influence. For Chesky, there are many instances that portray his behavioral idealized influence. One of the best is arguably his handling of the crisis which in turn led to a growth in his attributed idealized influence. Behavioral idealized influence can also be seen in his philosophy whereby in order to gain leadership skills, he opts to go straight to the source. This approach according to him is a more effective way of learning something.
A third aspect that of transformative leadership that Chesky exhibits is inspirational motivation. With inspiration motivation, the leader endeavors to cheer on the team, to inspire and motivate them. This dimension essentially addresses the issue of motivation of employees. The leader uses inspiration to motivate his followers, or in this case, employees, towards the attainment of the team goals. For Chesky, inspirational motivation can be perceived through the manner in which he communicates to employees of the company. For example, in one of the sessions with employees, Chesky talks about how the biggest challenge to the company is if employees stop being creative (Gallagher, 2015). Inspiration can also be seen in one of Chesky’s rule, which is to refill the reservoir. Under this rule, Chesky frequently attends social gatherings, since he believes that this is the greatest source of inspiration. Inspirational motivation can be achieved by setting out a compelling vision for employees (Moynihan, Pandey, & Wright, 2012). These missions are usually clear and attractive (Wright, Moynihan, & Pandey, 2012). Chesky’s compelling vision for his employees is to be crazy in their thinking.
Intellectual stimulation is yet another facet of transformational leadership which Chesky shows. Transformational leaders instill creativity and encourage new ways of thinking about situations and tackling problems amongst their followers. Chesky exhibits this trait in the manner in which he communicates to his employees. For example, when welcoming new hires, Chesky encourages those coming on board to be bold and crazy (Gallagher, 2015). Moreover, one of Chesky’s philosophies is up-leveling, which essentially involves pushing himself or others to think big. These examples are excellent indicators of Chesky’s intellectual stimulation and push towards creativity.
Finally, Chesky also displays individual consideration. Individual consideration essentially refers to a concern for each member of the team or organization. The leader is concerned with the personal development of the members of the organization. As such, the leader endeavors to provide opportunities for his followers to thrive, and this is well complemented by intellectual stimulation. Individualized consideration can be seen through employee empowerment. For Chesky, he encourages employees to be ‘crazy’ (Gallagher, 2015). Perhaps the most excellent illustration of Chesky’s individualized consideration can be found in his hiring decisions. Chesky highlights that for when hiring, he looks for people who are aspiring towards a particular goal rather than those seeking mere responsibilities (Bryant, 2014). This highlights a consideration for the individual, rather than a focus on the job.
Transformational leadership is usually highly suited for organizations undergoing periods of radical change and hence high levels of uncertainty. Normally, such organizations are the ones going through a crisis or a transition. According to Carter et al., during organizational transitions, employees experience difficulties and tensions which hinder their capability to maintain their performance levels (2013). In such situations, the leader requires to influence and galvanize the mentality of employees in order to orient them towards the new organizational vision. Parallels can be drawn between an organization in transition and a startup. In a startup, there is also much uncertainty about the future. The organizational culture is a new one, as is the organizational vision and mission. Consequently, there is a need to galvanize the views of employees as well as their efforts towards the attainment of a shared organizational vision. Airbnb, being a startup, can therefore be thought of as having the same tensions, anxieties and demands present in an organization in transition.
It has been noted that one of the instances during which transformative leadership is required is during times of crisis. Airbnb has been through such a period of crisis and Chesky’s approach towards dealing with the crisis exhibits aspects of transformative leadership. The specific crisis occurred in 2011, after a routine rental went horribly wrong. The individual renting the apartment burglarized and vandalized the rental house they were staying in (Shontell, 2011). The victim, EJ also suffered identity loss, as the perpetrator made away with copies of social security cards in addition to cash and jewelries. EJ deemed the initial response, an apology as unsatisfactory, and the story continued to attract much public attention. Chesky eventually made an all important decision whereby he took responsibility offering an apology and announcing a $50000 guarantee to protect property (Chesky, 2011). The program was extended to EJ and other individuals who had suffered similar losses in the past.
Chesky tends towards democratic leadership rather than autocratic leadership. This is one of the features of inherent in the transformational leadership approach. One of the dimensions of transformational leadership is individualized consideration, where the leader is concerned about providing employees with an opportunity for personal growth. An autocratic approach runs contrary to this dimension, and also represses the expression of creativity by employees.
Despite the noted preponderance towards democratic leadership, there are instances where Chesky’s leadership exhibits autocracy. Autocracy occurs where a leader makes a decision without considering the opinions of others. For Chesky, this was necessary especially when he faced the company’s biggest crisis that has already been described. There was a period of confusion and murkiness on how best the company could address the crisis, occasioned by divergent inputs from different individuals. Chesky finally made a decision to take responsibility. In retrospect of his decision, Chesky indicates that the experience taught him not to make consensus decisions in a moment of crisis. The decision he made to own up, as well as his conclusion of not relying on consensus decisions are astute indicators of Chesky’s autocratic attributes.
Another feature of Chesky’s leadership is that he is a risk taker. The foremost expression of this is his position as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurism is essentially hinged on precepts of risk-taking. Risk taking is one of the tenets of entrepreneurial leadership, alongside other aspects such as innovation, proactiveness and aggressiveness in opportunity seeking (Kozłowski & Bratnicki, 2015). The setting up of Airbnb is in itself an exemplary example of Chesky’s risk-taking capacity. A more elaborate case of risk-taking is Chesky’s decision to implement a guarantee program, where Airbnb hosts receive $50000 protection from damages. The nature of this implementation as a risk is further elaborated by Chesky’s decision to implement it universally without first testing it as he had been advised. The program appears to have been a success since the amount of protection has been raised to $1 million for renters in the US (Feloni, 2015). The above examples illustrate Chesky’s risk-taking nature.
Chesky does not appear to exhibit characteristics of the dark triad or other negative leadership characteristic approaches including narcissism and Machiavellianism. This can perhaps in principle be attributed to the very nature of business, which centers on social interaction and sharing. According to Wallace (2014), Airbnb promotes a level of intimacy that is not usual amongst strangers. Further, a New York Times journalist who interviewed Chesky reports that the real innovation is in fact not the rentals, but ‘trust’. Individuals possessing the dark triad of traits – narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy tend to be socially aversive (Gudmundsson & Southey, 2011). It is highly implausible that a socially aversive individual would be capable of envisioning and steering an enterprise hinged on social interactions to its success.
A comparison between Chesky’s leadership style and my own leadership style reveal some similarities and differences. For examples, I find that I am not as charismatic as Chesky. Chesky’s charisma has been explicated through an analysis of the five dimensions of transformative leadership. Charismatic leaders possess values, beliefs and behaviors that allow them to exercise a social influence over their followers (Phillips & Gully, 2011). I do not feel that my charismatic skills are as clearly developed as those of Chesky. Passion is another important trait. Though it has not explicitly been outlined, Chesky possess a lot of passion for what he does. Reflecting on myself, I would not say that I have a great amount of passion as does Chesky. Finally, I would also not classify myself as a risk taker, and this is the final difference I perceive between Chesky and me.
One area where I feel that we have a lot of similarities is in the absence of the dark triad. Like Chesky, I lack aspects of leadership that pertain to the dark triad. I also tend to exercise a more democratic model of decision-making, allowing others to participate and give their input. However, during times when I feel that the outcomes of a decision will have a high impact on me, then I opt for autocracy. This is because I feel such autocracy will outline a clear center of responsibility.
Brian Chesky is one of the co-founders and CEO of Airbnb.
Airbnb is an internet based service that allows individuals to rent out and
find apartments. The startup has been very successful. An analysis of Chesky’s
leadership traits reveals that he adopts a transformational leadership
approach. Elements of this approach that he exhibits include idealized
influence (both attributed and behavioral), inspirational motivation and
individualized consideration. Chesky uses a meticulous recruitment approach,
where he screens individuals based on what they want rather than based on job
requirements. This exemplifies his focus on the individual rather than on the
job. Moreover, he encourages his employees to be crazy, an example of
intellectual stimulation. Other aspects of Chesky’s leadership include
risk-taking and autocracy, particularly during periods of crisis. The
preponderance for autocracy was prompted by a crisis in which his decision to
take up the situation head on proved to be the most beneficial option.
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