Leadership of Anne Mulcahy

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CASE #1: Anne Mulcahy – Xerox CEO David Rieker Anne Mulcahy was an employee of Xerox for 24 years that she spent within Sales, Human Resources and served as the chief of staff for former CEO, Paul Allaire. At 47 years old, all of that changed when Mulcahy took over as the CEO of Xerox. She had an excellent reputation within the company but nobody, not even herself, had pinned her as the CEO type. Many companies still believe in the old adage, that the CEO has to be a strong willed male, who saw the big picture, distanced himself from the rest of the company and has particular “leadership” characteristics. Mulcahy did not exude any of these above-mentioned characteristics besides the fact that she was very strong willed. As mentioned in the Fortune article, she was very straightforward, hard working, and disciplined. She was completely loyal to Xerox, not only the company itself, but the brand and the people within it. During her reign at Xerox she has shown that she has incredible integrity and while she can be compassionate, she is able to be tough when necessary. After reading articles on Mulcahy, and the Leadership Experience text, I believe that she clearly fits within the High Task-High Relationship category on the Fieldler’s Contingency Model. She is able to be strong willed and eliminate departments that are not performing well, even though she had an integral role in creating that specific department. She was honest, compassionate, and tough at the exact same time, she was not afraid to give everyone the good news along with the bad news. The Fortune article showed that Mulcahy was willing to work shoulder to shoulder with all of her subordinates, this in turn gave her an unusual credibility and an ability to stimulate her team. She coaches her company toward achievement, while combing task and relationship behaviors. Mulcahy is clearly a relationship-oriented leader because her biggest concern is the people within Xerox. In the Fortune article, she said nothing spooked her more than waking up in the middle of the night and thinking about what would happen to the nearly 100,000 employees and retirees if the company went south. Mulcahy led by example, she didn’t take a weekend off for two years, took work home with her to better understand it, and when everybody at Xerox saw her working hard, they knew that she was working hard for them. Seeing a leader like this motivates employees into doing a better job, they don’t feel like they are being pushed into completing tasks, rather pulled by the motivation of Mulcahy. In the text of The Leadership Experience, Path-Goal refers to a leader’s responsibility to increase subordinate motivation and attain personal and organizational goals. Mulcahy had a goal to resurrect Xerox into the giant that it once was and dig it out of the debt that it had buried itself in. In order to achieve this goal, she clarified the followers’ path to the reward, which in this case was a successful Xerox and jobs for all employees. She worked closely with all employees in order to clarify the jobs that needed to be done in order for this goal to be realized. Mulcahy increased employees desire in the goal attainment with a supportive leadership style. In the Xerox article it stated that she rewarded those who stuck it out with Xerox by not only refusing to abolish raises but with symbolic gestures as well, including giving all employees their birthdays off. Mulcahy said in the Fortune article that everyone has to work hard, measure results, tell the truth, and be brutally honest. She not only stood by all of these characteristics throughout the rebirth of Xerox, but she exemplified them. After reading the Anne Mulcahy case, I went through and found what I believe to be her top ten list of values, traits, and characteristics. While I believe she demonstrates many more than ten, I wanted to narrow it down to her most important in role as CEO of Xerox. These include: Achievement, Affection, Competent, Competitiveness, Courageous, Creativity, Helpfulness, Integrity, Loyalty, and Personal Development. I found Achievement an easy answer to a characteristic of Mulcahy, she showed that she had an acute sense of accomplishment, success and she wanted to contribute to making Xerox relevant again. Mulcahy showed Affection during her time as CEO, she took the position specifically in order to help the nearly 100,000 employees and retirees of Xerox, because she loved the company and felt that they were all family. While many people didn’t believe that Mulcahy showed the competency of a CEO, she clearly proved each and every one of them wrong, by being a very capable and effective leader. Mulcahy showed how courageous she was throughout the Fortune article, while many people in that position may have turned down the offer, she took complete advantage of it. It was brought up in the Fortune article that many times the board asked her to file bankruptcy, but she stood up for her beliefs and never once thought about doing that to her company. She showed her competitiveness by taking risks in a company that tried to stay in the Stone Age and do things just because that is the way they have always been done. In the Money article, her creativity proved to be key with investing money in R&D, now nearly two-thirds of Xerox equipment sales come from product lines that have been introduced within the past two years. Helpfulness may be one of her biggest assets, this is what brought the company together and made it successful again. Her determination to helping everyone in the company and improving Xerox proved to resuscitate the company back to life again. Integrity was shown from the start, she was always honest, sincere, and genuine, which also in turn helped her to become respected by the company as a whole. Loyalty is what brought her to the CEO position, she loved Xerox and the people within the company, and she also respected Xerox and felt like it was her duty to bring this company back to what it once was. Lastly, one of the qualities that she illustrated was the need for personal development. She wasn’t groomed for the CEO job when she took it; she needed to develop herself into the CEO that she saw necessary in running the company effectively. Mulcahy worked weekends, studied accounting on her off time at home and also worked shoulder to shoulder with subordinates in order to see what was working and what wasn’t. Anne Mulcahy’s mission was to put Xerox back on the map and create a strong company that could support the many employees and retirees. She was very successful in doing so, she brought a company that was resistant to change and buried in debt, to a company that was creating new and successful products while digging their way out of debt, without filing for bankruptcy. Her vision for Xerox is to stay on top of the printer and copier technology, keep investing money in research and development, and create a beneficial environment for employees to succeed in. After reading the many articles, it is obvious that Mulcahy has demonstrated everything needed to carry out her vision and mission. Although many thought she was not a prototypical CEO, she has shown great success in turning around a dying company and made it her priority to do so in a way she felt necessary.

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Leadership of Anne Mulcahy. (2017, Sep 18). Retrieved June 29, 2022 , from

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