Monday, March 21, 2011

Women in Leadership- Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi is perhaps one of the most successful women CEOs of all time. Indra became CEO of PepsiCo in 2006 after serving for several years as VP. Indra capitalizes her leadership on "performance with purpose." "Performance with purpose"  means to generate as much profit as possible, but still remain socially responsible at the same time. Nooyi's effort to lead this type of change can be related to transformational leadership. She is inspiring not only her workers, but also the public of her desired change. Nooyi has a clear vision of successfully leading PepsiCo, but she also is highly focused on the greater good of the world. She clearly demonstrates all five aspect of Kouzes and Posner's model. I beleive the most important of all of the five aspects, is enabling others to act. Nooyi needs to listen to the views of others, include them in the process and decision making, and get others to follow her in her mission. 

Both in the present time while serving as PepsiCo's CEO, as well in the past before becoming CEO, Indra doesn't believe her leadership style has changed much. In the article, she talks about the fact that she believes all leaders should possess the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful throughout their entire career. By reflecting on the past leaders of a particular company and learning from their triumphs and mistakes, new leaders will be much more successful when combining all of the traits and characteristics of the leaders in the past. Taking all of this into consideration, it is clear that Indra believes that leadership can be a learned. This relates back to the skills approach we learned about earlier in the semester. Indra Nooyi is no longer worried about about the basic production lines at PepsiCo, or the small every day business that goes on inside the PepsiCo factories. Rather, she must focus much more on the conceptual ideas.

One of these ideas is that of "performance with purpose" which focuses on going green. In order to remain successful through the economic downturn, companies are going to have to come up with new and creative ideas. So far, Indra Nooyi has done an excellent job of using both her conceptual and human skills, much like the three-skills approach describes. 

It is also evident that Indra Nooyi encompasses many of the genuine and empathetic characteristics that are seen in more women than men in leadership. In the second article I posted, Nooyi mentions the fact that she doesn't think many corporations, or the government for that matter, have caught onto the idea that many women are looking for things such as daycare for their children at work. Part of this struggle for women in the workplace is due to the glass ceiling. I think many people would agree, including Nooyi, that the class ceiling is definitely still prevalent in today's workplace. Prejudice and stereotyping still exists, and it is up to not only the men in companies, but also the women to help lead, mentor, and guide female employees in order to break free of the glass ceiling. 

All in all, Nooyi has proven her ability to develop innovative ideas in order to stand out in the marketplace and yet still feels compassion for other working mothers. Most importantly, she has broken free of the glass ceiling, and is doing her best to help other females break free as well. 

I believe that Indra Nooyi's view on learned leadership is what has made her so successful. By listening, reflecting, and learning from what others have done, she has acquired a much deeper level of knowledge. By also encompassing a sense of transformational leadership in her effort for both environmental and work-life balance change, she is capitalizing on many of the leadership characteristics that women display more than men. So, what do you think? Do you believe that Indra Nooyi's transformational leadership combined with her view of skilled leadership is what defines a good leader?

- Kelly Moran 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I definitely think that Nooyi´s view of skilled leadership combined with her transformational leadership seems to define a good leader. I think it is great that she has broken free of the glass ceiling and help other females to do the same as well.

    Under Human Capital Differences in the Leadership Labyrinth is informal mentor relationship an aspect. I wounder if one solution of the glass ceiling can be that women in a leadership position do as Nooyi: guide female employees in order to break free. Or is it unethical for a women to only choose other women and not include men? If women choose women and men choose men, is the glass ceiling going to disappear?

    Eva-Lena Juhlin

  3. I like the aspect that elaborates the meaning of a Leader or the traits of a leader. Thanks for sharing.
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