Teresa Earnhardt became the owner of Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) after the death of her husband, Dale Earnhardt, in a fatal accident in the NASCAR series. Teresa Earnhardt’s leadership styles were put on task through occurrences in her company. This paper analyzes Teresa Earnhardt’s leadership styles as she tries to run her company in a male-dominated market.
Leadership Put on Test
Once in power, the most conspicuous incidents for Teresa Earnhardt were the loss of sponsorship deals with Budweiser and the US Army. However, this did not make Teresa panic, and she decided to lead the Dale Earnhardt Inc. into a merger with Chip Ganassi Racing forming Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in 2008. Another blow happened when Dale Earnhardt Jr. left DEI. However, it is significant to point out that even though Teresa was the step-mother of Dale Earnhardt Jr., she stood for what she perceived was in the best interest of the company. It was rumored that Dale Earnhardt Jr. wanted to make the necessary changes to DEI transforming the company into a consistently winning team (“Earnhardt: ‘We Were Never Close’ to Deal with DEI,” 2007). Teresa did not yield to the demand stating that DEI was to remain competitive even though Junior left. She mentioned that DEI was established on a platform of loyalty, commitment, and integrity, principles that could not be sidelined (“Earnhardt: ‘We Were Never Close’ to Deal with DEI,” 2007). On his part, Dale Earnhardt Jr. argued that both DEI under Teresa and him had a common agenda of winning; the only problem was that they could not agree which was the best approach towards this goal.
The above illustrations portray Teresa Earnhardt as a principled, transactional, and strong leader. Experiencing a blow after a blow, from the loss of her husband to losing sponsorship, Teresa still reminded focused on the best way to ensure the perpetuity of her late husband’s legacy manifested in Dale Earnhardt Inc. Her principled leadership was profoundly demonstrated when she was forced to let her step-son go in the name of upholding the principles guiding her company. A good and principled leader is the one who is ready to make the hard decision that is geared towards ensuring that the interests of the company at hand are given priority (Kippenberger, 2002). This was the case with the incidence between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Teresa in the context of the best way forward for DEI.
However, the lack of incorporation of Dale Earnhardt Jr. also portrays Teresa as a transactional leader. She was a leaders who wanted things to be done in a status quo platform (Kippenberger, 2002). Teresa ought to have compromised some of the set principles in the interest of the Dale Earnhardt Inc. with Dale Earnhardt Jr. as a multi-award winner. However, Teresa points out that DEI was built under a set of principles and will continue to operate within their stipulations. A daring leader is the one who can think swiftly but diligently on the best course of action in case of misfortunes. Facing the loss of important sponsorship deals for DEI, Teresa was able to identify that the only way of ensuring the perpetuity of the DEI’s operations was via getting into a merger with Chip Ganassi Racing which saw them combine into a winning team.
Advantages and Drawbacks of Teresa Earnhardt’s Style
Her daring and strength was very vital when it came to helping the company cope with the hardships era where very useful sponsors withdrew their support ensuring the company’s continuity. In racing business, the backbone of a venture lays on the financial sponsorship deals. Losing both sponsorships at the same time required not only a well-crafted but a timely action. In contrast, her transactional persona ruined all her efforts, her belief that the company worked well within the confinement of the founding principles brought her a problem with their first driver. As a result, Dale Earnhardt Jr. left DEI causing to a heavy financial consequence that ultimately resulted in the company merging to ensure its survival.
Is It Easy for a Leader to Change His or Her Preferred Style?
Leadership style is the platform under which a leader wants to encourage the employees under him/her to meet the pre-determined organization goals. A leader also uses this platform to mark his/her authority in the organization (Kippenberger, 2002). Appreciating this, a leadership style forms a part of the identity a leader has in an organization. It is, therefore, not easy for a leader to change his or her preferred style of leadership as this sometimes may be perceived as a weakness by the employees. It is good to point out that employees, indeed, do feel the presence of their leader through the leadership style used. Therefore, it is not that easy for a leader to change the platform that was once built.
The Implications of Leadership Training
Leadership training involves the intentional activities that are intended to ensure a continued improvement in terms of leadership qualities (Russell, 2003). Here leaders are taught the best approaches to utilize in dealing with various situations. In most cases, leaders are trained at seminars where they are exposed to different challenges that ensure they become exposed to various leadership demanding situations. The primary implication of these training programs is that they aid in upholding a better decision-making by different leaders in their respective organizations (Russell, 2003). This, in turn, enables an organization perform better thus leading to an improved output.
Challenges a Leader Who’s Replacing a Well-Known Leader of Any Organization Faces
As mentioned earlier, every manager has his/her tool of leadership in the form of a leadership style. It is through leadership style that a leader can create an organization-centric cultural way of doing things. A well-known leader has been able to successfully encourage the employees to behave in a manner that best serves his/her leadership style. This means that the leader has managed to completely manipulate the organizational behavior. When a new leader comes in, her/his style is perceived as a change or liberal style, and most of the time, it is faced with resistance. The biggest issue is usually to fit into the “shoes” left by the former leader. This generally implies winning the employees’ trust and meeting the left expectations in terms of decision-making and the approach.
How Teresa Earnhardt Deal with These Challenges
When Teresa took over, she did not win the confidence of the sponsors that supported her husband’s leadership. Eventually, DEI lost their support. The loss of the sponsorship was a heavy blow to her company and demanded a quick response if perpetuity was to be guaranteed. Appreciating this, Teresa dealt with the challenge in an innovative manner. She utilized a merger platform forming a merger with Chip Ganassi Racing, who provided the much-needed sponsorship deals.
How the Fact that Stock Car Racing Might Is a Male Dominated Business Affect Teresa Earnhardt’s Approach to Leading Her Company
The greatest challenge for women’s leadership in a male-dominated field is stereotypical thinking (Elmuti, Jia, & Davis, 2009). Women in these positions are seen as liberals and perceived as threatening or incompetent (Sweetman, 2000). Thus, they lack the necessary support to ensure the attainment of success. In Teresa’s situation, she did not enjoy the support her late husband had. A good example is the withdrawal of sponsorship deals. Her take-over did not give the US Army and the Budweiser the confidence that she was to lead Dale Earnhardt Inc. into a winning team. As a result, the lack of finance significantly affected her approach to leading her company as it demanded survival rather than competitive tactics. The merger engagement was in no way an action geared towards improving the competitiveness of the DEI in NASCAR series but rather an undertaking of ensuring its perpetuity. It is therefore evident that Stock Car Racing, being a male-dominated business, did influence Teresa’s approach to leading her company.
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Teresa Earnhardt was a leader directed by her passion to ensure the perpetuity of her late husband’s legacy. She was a bold leader even though she faced tremendous challenges and the risk of closure. The greatest challenge she faced was winning the trust of the relevant parties like her husband did. This illustrates how hard it is to replace a well-known leader in an organization. Teresa had to deal with being seeing as incompetent even by her step-son notwithstanding her failure to win the confidence in the sponsors that were earlier funding DEI. All these occurrences go far into demonstrating just how hard women find leadership undertakings in a male-dominated market.
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