Leadership in Quality: Emirates Airline

The exertion of social influence or authority over a group in a given direction to achieve specified objectives constitutes leadership. There are different leadership theories that explain how leaders apply their skills in management. Numerous research papers have defined, analyzed, and explored several theories of leadership and their applications in daily life. The leadership studies have paid due attention to the perception of leaders and the feeling he/she commands from the group (Yukl, 2006).

Moreover, there are different leadership styles that organizations use in their operations to achieve success. Not only do companies’ successes depend on financial strengths, but dependent also on the employees in the firms. Therefore, leaders must find ways of managing these employees to get the right feedback.

A leader is one of the key figures in any group. Different organizations adopt different structures of leadership styles to enhance job satisfaction. This essay discusses factors that determine leadership styles, the effectiveness of leadership styles, and various styles of leadership. Also, the discourse will review the aforementioned parameters in line with Emirates Airline. For example, it discusses the style of leadership that it has adopted in managing its operations and meeting customers’ needs and how it is coming up with the changes.

Adopting an appropriate leadership style is an essential element for most business managers. In choosing a leadership style that will be successful in managing an organization, various aspects influence the entire process. The first aspect that determines leadership style is personality. Personal characteristics influence the adoption and success of management style in an organization. For instance, a charming person will easily adopt a charismatic leadership style, as he/she will bring subordinates close to him/her.

However, those prone to following protocols will adopt the supervisory leadership style in which employees are trained to abide by the company’s conservative policies (Nicholls, 1992). Belief system also affects the style of leadership in affirm. For instance, a person who believes in supervising employees to ensure that they meet the set objectives will often opt for autocratic or supervisory leadership style. Other people believe in personal development, growth, and behavior influence hence, will adopt a transformational leadership style.

Nicholls (1992) asserts that such leaders always believe that employees can learn new ideas while at the workplace, thus inculcating creativity in their minds. It involves training and development, which starts by understanding employees’ entry behaviors to instill new ideas in them.

Further, a company’s culture can influence the style of leadership that an organization uses. In organizations where creativity is a significant issue in determining success, a creative leader will fit easily in such a system to encourage employees to be unique in their thinking and ways of handling activities.

On the other hand, if an organization has a well-built culture of efficient and motivated staffs, leaders can opt for a laissez-faire style of leadership. Lastly, employee diversity can affect the style of leadership in a firm given that employees can be of different genders, religious affiliations, races, cultures, and ages (Nicholls, 1992). Participatory and servant style of leadership works best in this scenario, as the leader will be working closely with employees to assimilate them, thereby serving their customers with the right attitude.

For a leadership style to be effective, it must deliver on the objectives of an organization. This implies that the style must have direct impacts on the organization’s achievements such that it offers maximum self-satisfaction and leaves memorable images to other stakeholders. Boldness is a key element in taking an organization upwards since it brings confidence in management. According to Yukl (2006), a bold leader will be visionary and will speak out his/her mind at any time.

Moreover, a leadership style is deemed effective if it recognizes the roles of employees in the company. Emirates Airline, for instance, rewards its employees who surpass their set goals or come up with new ideas of running the firm. Again, the management communicates well to all departments, inspire employees by sharing the company’s vision and mission, and sets specific goals. Motivated employees remain committed to their duties for their benefit and that of the company.

Successful organizations also conduct employees’ training, seminars, and bonding sessions. In such sessions, employees learn how to meet their objectives and basic life skills. Best leaders also recognize the potential of their followers, then give them room to exploit their talents to the fullest. A democratic leadership style is the best example that can support new ideas, thereby encouraging personal curiosity and development.

In today’s firms, leaders use different leadership styles that they believe can propel their businesses above their expectations. For effective leadership, leaders must understand other leadership styles as well (Yukl, 2006). In autocratic style, employees have little say on the management of the organization even if it is for the benefit of the firm. Leaders view subordinates as subjects who must be guided on how to deliver on the set objectives.

This leadership style is effective in situations that require quick decision-making to make work efficient. The next leadership style is the bureaucratic form that relies on following procedures to the letter. It is effective in areas that involve the use of chemicals, machinery, and food processing industries. Therefore, areas that have serious risks will find it efficient and effective to apply this type of leadership.

Conversely, the style is not effective in companies that rely on creativity, innovation, or flexibility. Moreover, bureaucratic style of leadership is resenting since the leadership is based on one’s ability to uphold set rules, but not on the area of specialization. As a result, expertise may feel neglected in the leadership structure.

Charismatic leadership style involves leaders inspiring their teams to think along their line to work towards achieving a common goal. Such leaders motivate their subordinates as a way of creating excitement and commitment to move forward (Nicholls, 1992). This can prove suicidal if the leader leaves the organization, as there will be no one to guide the teams. Again, they do believe that they are right and have a high understanding of all aspects that they face.

From the description, it is clear that such leaders have great roles and must have a long-time commitment to an organization to make necessary changes. The leadership style at Emirates Airline is a typical example of a charismatic leadership style since the success of the company has relied on the presence of the management. Vivid analyses of the charismatic leadership style at Emirates Airline are preserved for discussion below.

Participatory leadership, on the other hand, encourages contributions of subordinates before making final decisions. Leaders include employees in their decision-making teams. This mode of leadership encourages teamwork and creativity and is often suitable for projects.

However, it is not effective in situations that require prompt response like solving a crisis. Even though Democratic leaders are slow in making decisions, they often make decisions that represent the will of the majority. In this way, employees and other stakeholders are often satisfied in their respective places of work (Nicholls, 1992). Notably, this style motivates employees as they feel in control of the firm’s destiny through massive involvement in decision-making processes.

The style enhances job satisfaction and productivity among team members. This makes employees work towards achieving a unified goal, but not for financial gains. Emirates Airline uses both charismatic and democratic/participatory leadership styles in meeting its short and long-term objectives.

There is also a transformational leadership style that involves inspiring subordinates to think and perform like their leaders. It involves the total engagement of every team member to improve productivity. Transformational managers focus on ideas that add value to their work.

Transactional leadership involves compensating employees for their loyalty, compliance, and effort. In this style, a manager has a right to penalize an employee for not meeting the required standard (Nicholls, 1992). Members are often given external rewards for their ambitions at the workplace.

There is also a Laissez-Faire style of leadership where leaders allow employees to work on their own. In this style, managers do not have control over the employees, and they can set their way of meeting the goals of an organization with their deadlines. Laissez Faire is always effective where employees can start activities by themselves, and are skilled and experienced in diverse fields. All the leadership styles aim at pushing an organization forward to gain a competitive advantage in their areas of specialization.

Emirates Airline launched its operations in 1985 through the mutual support of the Avion Group from Iceland and the government of Dubai. Today, Emirates Airline is a subsidiary of the larger Emirates Group, and it is among the eight largest airlines in the industry (Leadership, 2013). The company operates a wide-body aircraft with high international passenger-kilometers. The committed leadership at Emirates Airline have seen the company gain a competitive advantage over its competitors in the market.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum has been extremely influential in the management of the company. Together with his team, they make everything possible for the company to increase efficiency and effectiveness (Leadership, 2013). The types of leaders and the leadership styles that Emirates Airline has been implementing has also enabled it to have a competitive advantage over the competitors.

Also, the company is also employing different strategies in attempting to be marketable and competitive. Successful firms have always employed diversity in their thinking to marshal resources for high outputs. They mostly apply different styles of leadership that enhance collective responsibility within their organizations.

For instance, participatory and transformational forms of leadership involve much-skilled staff in managerial issues, which results in low staff turnover. This is opposed to the autocratic style of leadership where subordinates only wait for instructions from their leaders.

The success of Emirates Airlines is attributed to effective and efficient leadership. The leaders use a leadership style of a family where they put together their wills and patience to gain consensus on various issues hence improving their action time. Sheikh has been behind the success of the airline company. Emirates Airline leaders can balance the analytical perspective strategy and that of the human dimension.

The inclusive decision-making abilities receive advent support from the lean management arrangement. Sheikh has also been inspiring employees to work towards achieving the company’s strategic objectives by acting as an example in meeting the desired goals (Leadership, 2013). The inspiration option has resulted in more employee engagement and commitment due to a high emotional connection with the employees.

The leadership style has been influencing behavior and thinking of the subordinates, thereby inspiring them to achieve a common goal. For instance, Sheikh’s decision to form an extraordinary board meeting to solve the issues of subordinates attests to his democratic leadership style.

Therefore, the leader is interested in the final decisions of the members of the company, after which he implements inclusive and robust ideas. In the inspirational style of leadership, leaders listen to the views of employees in the firm to allow their inputs into the vision and mission of the organization (Yukl, 2006). Notably, employees will be motivated and find it effortless to implement goals, which incorporate their inputs.

Emirates Airline leadership has been inspiring the subordinates to follow them in achieving great heights. Inspirational leaders are always passionate about the goals and objectives of the company. It is the leaders’ passions for the organization that enables them to share their dreams with all employees, thus making others passionate about achieving the vision of the company.

Therefore, such leaders have an intrinsic inspirational culture of sharing the purpose and meaning of them being in business. In an organization, understanding the nature of goals and objectives of an organization is critical in influencing subordinates to improve their performance, as they will be able to connect the reasons why the business exists.

Sheikh is truly a persevering and empowering leader, given that he has been at the helm of the airline company for the past 25 years. The senior management team combines meticulous planning and bravery in making inclusive decisions that have made Emirates Airline the fastest growing airline in the world and the largest provider of travel services in the Middle East. The team believes in collective responsibility in building the travel and tourism empire at a steady pace (Leadership, 2013).

Maurice Flanagan, during a talk in Wharton Leadership Lecture, reiterated that sheik is a charismatic leader since he involved him in tutorials and discussions to understand the basics of the Airline Industry. The CEO and the Chairman oversaw an increase in the number of UAE pilots to 11% by 2007 (Wharton School, 2007). The CEO contends that the company works on a cost-cutting strategy by employing people from low-wage nations like Pakistan and India.

The idea of lean management allows for thorough discussions and fast execution of ideas by a small inner circle who works as a family business. The entire leadership team at the Emirates Airline has proven to be experts in different fields and even believed that success needs crucial and in-depth studies into aspects that can generate positive results. In this dimension, the airline company has been analyzing the moves of its competitors both from the external and internal perspectives as a way of determining how to sustain competitive advantage for the years to come.

In line with that, the company can lay out strategies on how to surpass the overall status of its rivals in the industry. Moreover, the research enables Emirates Airline to analyze how to eliminate its weaknesses and concentrates on its strengths. From the aforementioned perspective, the management has been applying strategic leadership style to maintain its positive image in the market.

Emirates Airline has corporate and business strategies that have seen their passionate and dedicated employees apply product differentiation strategies in maintaining their excellence among diverse clienteles. Business-level strategies encompass the initiatives that organizations take towards giving quality products to their customers. Giving value to customers raises the level of customers’ satisfaction, thus enabling a company to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors in the dynamic and global market.

Firms must identify their customers, understand their needs, and set how they intend to meet or satisfy these needs. In ensuring that the consumers remain loyal and committed to continuing using their brands, the company applies distinctive marketing and sales promotion concepts. For instance, their dominance on sponsoring football teams like Arsenal, Real Madrid, Paris Saint Germaine, and AC Milan can attest to this unique style of marketing as they involve various consumers in the advertisements (Leadership, 2013).

Those who rely on modern technology meet the advertisements on Facebook and Twitter. The dynamic nature of the management at Emirates Airline allows them to cope with market changes. Markedly, it has adopted technological developments in its services so that it is not behind. Corporate level strategy offer guidance to companies in totality.

All strategic decisions that firms make are incorporated in the corporate strategic plans. This level of strategy discusses factors that can affect the performance of a company and its competitors at present and in the future. After thorough forecasting, firms design strategies that may enable them to go over these challenges.

The corporate level strategy has some subdivisions. A stability strategy or value-neutral strategy exists where a firm decides to maintain its situation, signifying that it is satisfied with its present situation (Leadership, 2013). A growth strategy embarks on business expansion.

There is also the typical growth strategy or value-creating strategy that encompasses concentration strategy and vertical integration strategy. Emirates Airline values service delivery to their customers and always strive to train the staff on how to handle their customers, whether traveling or not.

Emirates Airline has experienced leadership styles that support the growth of the team members under the Presidency of Tim Clark. Employees gain new skills through professional training, thus developing their careers. The company also relies on the experienced and long-serving executive leadership in meeting its goals and objectives. Both the democratic and charismatic styles of leadership at Emirates Airline have led to great growth for the company. For example, the company processes orders of $58 billion for 170 aircraft at present (Leadership, 2013).

Also, the company has been remitting $100 million dividends yearly to the government, yet at the time of its launch, 27 years ago; Flanagan started the company with $10 million, which was a donation from the government of Dubai. Flanagan also accentuated that unlike British Airways and Air France, Emirates Airline has not received huge debt reliefs signifying that the management has adopted effective leadership styles that have enabled them to maintain a competitive edge over their competitors in the industry (Wharton School, 2007).

The company prefers a charismatic style of leadership to other styles given their retention of the highly skilled management team since it launched its operation back in 1985. Since the airline company absorbs employees from low wage-earning nations, it has the potential of penetrating new markets considering the adoption of internet marketing.

The management should recognize the rapid changes in consumers’ demands and swiftly move to alter their services to cater to the new needs lest other industry leaders displace them. The company should also understand the political and legal conditions of countries in which they operate or intend to operate in so that it can take advantage over the rivals. Mere neglect can make the company lose heavily in the market and may realize late that they are not the industry leader anymore.

The aforementioned observations require flexibility in using other leadership styles such as transformational style, which encourages a high level of innovation and creativity. A combination of different leadership styles increases the overall performance of a firm given the diversity of situations at the workplace. Emirates Airline should also recruit expertise to improve their service delivery to their customers.

Upon recruitment, the company should instill their ethical culture in the recruits to improve their image in the airline industry worldwide. On the other part, Emirates Airline should adopt diversity in the top management, given that there is no female executive in the top management. The move will alter clients’ perceptions of viewing the company as dominated by males. Currently, gender balance in managerial positions is an essential aspect of the success of an organization. To sum up, Emirates Airline ought to cut across all leadership styles that will steer growth in all their ventures.


Leadership. (2013). The Emirates Group. Web.

Nicholls, J. (1992). Leadership of customer-driven TQM: a handbook for managers. Letchworth, England: Technical Communications.

Wharton School. (2007). Maurice Flanagan’s Emirates Airline: Flying High and Treating Customers like Sheikhs[email protected][email protected].

Yukl, G. A. (2006). Leadership in organizations (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.