Michael O'Leary is an employee of Ryainar, an Irish airline that is among the top in worldwide in terms of performance, and profit making. He holds a high rank in the company, and that is the Chief Executive Office. Michael O'Leary is on of the richest businesspersons in Ireland.He was born in 1961 near Kanturk in Ireland. He is a second born in family of six. He did his studies in Clongowes Wood College, and later went through a course in Business in Trinity College until 1983. After graduating from Trinity College, he worked as a trainee in the Stokes Kennedy Crowley. It is now KPMG. It is in this company that he met Tony Ryan the head of Guinness Peat Aviation, who was a client to Stokes Kennedy Crowley. At this time, O'Leary started Advising Tony on his personal income tax. Basing on that, Tony employed him to his personal advisor on tax and finances. This is as Calder says, "By this stage, Michael O'Leary had attended Trinity College in Dublin, worked as an accountant and been recruited as Mr Ryan's right hand man" (Calder, par. 13, 2006). At this time, Ryanair was established and they later on employed O'Leary to serve in the airline. It is at this point that we see a leader in O'Leary. The characteristics of good leaders may be summarized in three statements. The leaders should have very clear vision, which should steer them to successes. They should have the ability to communicate this vision for their followers to comprehend it very well. Finally, they must bring the vision to reality. This will pin point specific things that O'Leary has been doing in Ryanair to bring it to the top. This will exemplify his leadership in business and will put forward lessons that one can learn from them. The main things are, how O'Leary has managed strategic change, how O'Leary has developed a strategic report to managing human recourse, his strategy concerning cost.After his promotion to be the chief executive of Ryanair, he had a very clear vision, to model the Ireland's Ryanair after the novel Southwest Airline Business Model. He had the objective of making to come to the top rank among all Europeans Airlines. O'Leary did not take a very long time before he steered the short haul airline to the top. From the early 2000, the airline has topped not only in Europe but also in globally. "Ryanairtook delivery of the largest number of new aircraft in 2009, with 54 B737-800 deliveries - or an average of 4.5 per month" ("Ryanair tops 2009 aircraft deliveries" par 1, 2009). This report shows exactly how O'Leary's is effective and how the company is doing.Mr. O'Leary style of leadership does not match any specific style that we have amongst the known style. An analysis will show that he uses a combination of styles. Finlay (2000) has made an analysis of such leaders and resented them in a table adapted from Cook et al (1977). The table is as shown bellow.This are the two types of style are most dominant (Finlay, 2000). Michael style is that of Enrolling leaders. The recap of how he revived a collapsing Ryanair will show that his leadership style was enrolling. In the same recap, we see that he has been very effective. Ryanair tops the other airlines today in terms of profitability.Through that same assay, we are able to his character. He is a person who is outspoken and involves himself with all the affairs of the company. We can see him very clearly in sharp defense of anything that involves the company. From the press we can see that he has had a standoff between him and Irish leaders and politicians (O'Higgins, 2004). From his profile, he has earned himself names raging from high praises to those that demean him complete. O'Higgins, (2004) says, 'he is called everything from arrogant pig to messiah' (O'Higgins, pp. 706, 2004). This is from how he has dealt with his workers, customers and competitors. To analyze his leadership well, we will approach it by discussing his strategic approach in managing Change, Human Resource and Cost.
Managing Strategic ChangeChange is usually an inevitable challenge. It is caused by many factors. It can be a positive or a negative change. Managers should always be on the lookout because the change may bring about a negative growth to the company if not well managed. Michael O'Leary monitored this change effectively to prevent negative effects.As other companies surcharge their customers because of the rising prices of fuel, O'Leary maintained their prices low. As an allusion to many companies that had increased their prices because of the rising fuel cost in the year 2005, and even higher in the year 2006, Michael O'Leary declared that they would not levy their customers more at any time, not even in the far future. Customers welcomed this assurance. This is because the statistics show that the company further increased its revenue during this period. Many of the companies of the long - haul routes surcharged their customers. Worse of, these levies were not proportional to the overall fare. O'Leary in this case, handled this change with care making sure that he would not lose their customers.Due to its law travel cost, Ryanair had an increase of its customers. To cope with this growth change, the company bought new aircrafts. This was between September 2006 and April 20007 when they acquired 30 aircrafts. This was to ensure that the increasing customer would not come, miss the service, and later tarnish the reputation of the company.However, the company needed to compensate on the rising fuel in order to increase its profit margin. O'leary therefore focused on ancillary revenue. This revenue rose by 36% in 2006, far much more than the passenger revenue. The company calculated it to be at £7.70 per person. The ancillary revenue is that which comes from the schedules that do not involve flight. These are rail and bus ground services, hotels, charges on excess baggage, car rental services, and flight charge fees, in flight sales, personal loans and commission from Ryanair credit card. This initiative also started the in-flight mobile phone service and online gambling. This did not receive a positive reaction from a majority of the customers. Michael O'Leary kept the companies stand on the fact that they would not stop doing the business. The kind of the business had made some passengers uncomfortable because of the perceived noisy environment. The management refused to adhere to the customer's complaint because of the relatively low prices. This was an act of balance. It had to be there in order to maintain the company's profits as well as provide affordable service to the same customers. This was still in response to the change of fuel prices. The company therefore gained much more than many companies.O'Leary and his team maintained the fleet commonality by using Boeing 737 planes. The company has overtime replaced the old aircrafts with new efficient and environmental friendly planes. This policy is to keep the employee training the maintenance of aircraft very low. This and the above-discussed points have shown how O'Leary has managed change strategically.
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Strategic Approach in Managing Human ResourceUnder the leadership of Mr. O'Leary, Ryanair has kept abreast with changes in field of managing human resource. This was with the aim of reducing the workload that the other workers had. In 2006, O'Leary with his team increased employee count by 700. The number rose to 3500. In this, they gave the workers who have been there relieve. This ultimately improved their working condition, by reducing their working hours.From the assertion that they had an middling annual pay £49, 692 in 2006, implys that they are paying higher than any European airline. This still insinuates that that Ryanair pays its employees well. This is another fact that improves on the working conditions of the staff. It is an aspect of management that many companies go about with oblivion. Their focus is only on the profits at the end, forgetting the vitality of the human resource.O'Leary also knows that training and retraining the staff is very essential for Ryanair. If an organization has to grow, it has to have the values of a learning organization. Such organizations provide workers with learning experiences while working. This is very fulfillimg to the employee because it is a direct form of developing his or her career. It is also directly beneficial to the company or the organization. The skill gained by the staff or the employees will improve their productivity. We have seen this concept with Ryanair, when it mentioned that the cost of staff training and aircraft maintenance have to be lowered (O'Higgins, 2004).Mr. O'Leary also had in mind that for him to improve the conditions of workers the he had to comply with the regulation, which enforced a ceiling on pilot flying hours to an average of 18 hours per week. This will help the workers to work with renewed strength making them to be more efficient. At times, it goes to dangerous levels. Keeping the health of workers in an organization is sustaining its productivity.O'Leary has however been criticized for mishandling workers at some point. The focus has been more on the pilots. He has not allowed them to join unions. In that case, the pilots could not express themselves freely. The Ryanair had an appeal to the Supreme Irish court over a ruling that its pilots should collectively bargain through Irish Airline Pilot Association. The court ruling was in the favor of Ryanair. The company thereafter launched a claim for it s legal expenses. Furthermore, in 2006 the Irish High Court found the company to have bullied pilots to accept a harassing contract that they should pay £15 000 for retraining. This was as concerns the above-mentioned case. O'Leary has had this wrong side while handling its human resource. From the previous statistics about the remuneration, Ryanair is said to be the one paying highest of all other companies. It means that they pay their workers highly. Mr. O'Leary should therefore balance these with a more human relationship as he handles the workers. This would create a good image and make it to sell its brand more.Strategy on costMr. O'Leary with his team have has a unique way of balancing costs to bring them down to increase the profit margin ("The guardian profile", 2005). Some of the recurrent costs are not always predictable. The main one that has it prices badly fluctuating is fuel. The company has decided that this will not make it impose extra levy on travel fare. To mange this, the company has refocused its energy on ancillary revenue sources as we have earlier seen. The company has dwelled the policy of flight commonality. By using the Boeing 737, the company is able to save on the cost of training staff and the cost of aircraft maintenance. This was by doing away with the small and less environment friendly planes. These aircrafts were also older which meant a higher maintenance cost than new ones.Employing more workers also improved on the efficiency of the current workers. Increasing their number seems to increasing on the cost of wedges, but has a subtle effect in increasing the customer subscription because of the increased efficiency. Other measures the company took were luggage handling and passenger check-in techniques that were designed to reduce the cost and enhance productivity. The first was to introduce a web-based passenger check-in that saves time. This also saved the cost on using airport facility for check-in services. The other cost minimized was of the check-in staff. The second was luggage handling. They introduced charges on the check-in bags. This encouraged the customer to travel with few or at some cases without the check - in bags. This saved on cost of handling the luggage and increased speed. This had an overall improvement on the efficiency of organizing the travels throughout.The other strategy for cost reduction was policy on route airport charges. They decided to focus on the airline budget model. They therefore maintained point-to-point routes only. "Ryanair reduced airport charges by avoiding congested main airports, choosing secondary and regional airport destinations, anxious to increase passenger throughput" (O'Higgins, pp. 699 2004).Airport charges hard increased in the year 2006 prompting O'Leary to decide to use other routes. They were also avoiding congestion, which would cause unnecessary delays. This lowered the costs of operational.From the above discussion, Michael O'Leary is a leader to follow. He is one who has a stand in all things that he does. He implements his decisions without considering what someone else is saying. It is not just any idea, but those that have gone through rigorous scrutiny, and he is sure that they will work.My leadership potentialOver time, I have kown that I have a great desire for excellent performance. I am inquisitive and of an analytical mind. Moreover, I have good communication skills, am adaptive to an atmosphere of rapid change, excited by challenges, ready and quick to learn. I am a team player, self-driven and result oriented.In learning about Michael O'Leary, I have seen that I can derive greater passion from his success. His determination is what fascinates me. Therefore, he inspires me by this determination. I have learned that to achieve your goal, yo need to be focused and determined as O'Leary was.The character that I would admire in O'Leary is that having a vision clearly drawn. For this reason, we see the dream becoming a reality. Ryanair now tops the list in the most profitable airlines in the world. This shows that he was very witty in managing change, human resource and cost.The part that makes him an example to many is the way he keeps a high profile in the war he is task oriented and also at the same time people related oriented. The way we have already seen, he thinks about the customers an how to satisfy them. He also thinks about His workers. This is to ensure that they work in favorable conditions. Even though not all may be satisfied, but on average, he does well.The other thing that we see in him is the way he could document his vision to a well-defined mission. We see this from the way he steered change in the collapsing Ryanair and lifting to the top of the world. That is as we have earlier discussed, the strategic way in which he has handle change, human resource, and cost. These things insinuate a well-documented mission from a goal that gives people a good focus of what they want to get.His success too shows that he was able to communicate this vision clearly to his followers. He was able to make the embrace the same vision and to make the work on it with his passion. The vision needs nothing less than that. O'Leary has therefore motivates anyone who learns about him to articulate the three characters of good leaders and to perform well in their leadership endeavors.
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