Mary Barra’s Leadership Legacy

As Shakespeare wrote in All’s Well That Ends Properly: “no legacy is so rich as honesty.”

At this moment, Basic Motors’s new CEO, Mary Barra, is creating one particular helluva legacy as she faces a full-blown crisis.

As you most likely know, GM has sold autos with faulty ignitions for much more than 10 many years. Apparently, some of the higher-ups at GM knew this and did absolutely nothing for years. Folks have died in GM vehicles with faulty ignitions. And Barra inherited this colossal, lethal mess when she became the 1st female CEO of 1 of Detroit’s Huge 3.

Alternatively of stonewalling the problem (which appears to have been the method of some of GM’s so-called leaders), Barra is meeting it head on with big doses of honesty. And she’s carrying out it in front-and-center trend.

She met with reporters and stated, “I want to start off by saying how sorry personally and how sorry Standard Motors is for what has took place. Obviously lives have been misplaced and families are impacted, and that is extremely significant.”

Barra also has taken measures to correct any and all security problems forcefully, naming Jeff Boyer vice president in charge of global safety, whose “first priority will be to rapidly determine and resolve security concerns,” the firm said in a news release. Barra stated in the statement, “If there are any obstacles in his way, Jeff has the authority to clear them. If he needs any further assets, he will get them.”

As reported in The New York Occasions, Barra’s method to this crisis is reminiscent on yet another wonderful Detroit leader: Lee Iacocca as he took the helm when Chrysler was in problems.

“Lee Iacocca acknowledged that Chrysler was his business and that it was his occupation to defend it, promote it, and stand up for it,” stated Arthur C. Liebler, who was Chrysler’s leading communications executive in the course of Iacocca’s heyday. “GM is Mary Barra’s firm now, and she has to do the identical factor.”

Barra (and Iacocca before her) is proving her leadership mettle in a quantity of important methods:

Taking responsibility — Barra’s not wasting time saying “I’m not to blame for this horror,” even even though she could take that method really legitimately. She’s admitting to the problem, owning it. It will take courage to be this honest and forthright. Barra is proving her courage.

Taking direct, focused action — She’s appointed a new security boss for GM and manufactured it very clear that he will get no matter what he demands to make confident that GM cars are safe.

Will Mary Barra finish up getting remembered as the type of legendary leader that Lee Iacocca was? GM’s benefits more than the up coming couple of many years will go a lengthy way to identifying that. But she is developing the type of legacy that anyone, leader or not, could be proud of.

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