9 Jan 2023


Lynn Tilton: Using Leadership to Turn Around Failing Companies

Format: APA

Academic level: College

Paper type: Case Study

Words: 1354

Pages: 4

Downloads: 0

Use table 16-2 to evaluate the extent to which Lynn Tilton displayed the characteristics associated with being a good leader and good manager. 

Table 16-2 represents Fiedler’s contingency model which identifies leadership styles and situational variables that make a good leader. Looking at the leadership styles, Fiedler identifies task motivated style which centers on the attainment of set goals or relationship motivated styles which focus on building relationships with subjects and associates. Tilton displays a bit of the two leadership styles. She travels to help improve sales at one of her companies where she confesses that she holds her companies close to her heart and she gets personally involved with her companies. This shows the task motivated characteristics displayed by Tilton. On the other hand, she shows relationship motivated aspects in the way she interacts with her workers. Duane Lugdon, a union staffer refers to Tilton as human and honest with people and says that workers warm up to her.

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The amount of control and influence a leader has in the work environment contributes to how good a leader she is. Situational control explores three dimensions on which to gauge how good a leader is: leader-member relations, task structure, and position power. Evidently, Tilton is clearly respected in her position as the CEO and yet still liked defining her leader-member relations as quiet good. She does take part in helping achieve goals and improve her companies and also she is well informed about her businesses: she has detailed knowledge of her metal alloys and machine tools as noticed in her chit chat with workers at the helicopter plant. This put her task structure at high. Finally, Tilton has a very strong power position in her companies. She describes herself as a “benevolent dictator” and is also described as still “the CEO of MD”.

For exhibiting both task motivated and relationship motivated leadership styles and having a good leader-member relationship, a high task structure and strong position of power in her leadership, Tilton has high situation control and is a good leader to the extent of situation I.

Which different positive and negative leadership traits and styles were displayed by Tilton? Cite examples. 

A leader is bound to exude a variety of leadership traits some of which may be positive and others negative. The positive traits evident in Tilton’s leadership are such as task-relevant knowledge, confidence, and authenticity. Tilton is well aware of her goals and businesses as seen in her knowledge of metals and machines in the helicopter plant. The fact that she has grown a one of a kind business of taking distressed companies and has been able to bring them back to life shows that she has relevant knowledge for her task. Confidence is evident in a leader who has a clear direction of her business and is assertive at the same time being kind and showing understanding. Tilton has a clear vision of her business which she passes on to her workers. She participates in management and is at the forefront in finding solutions for her companies. Finally, Tilton does not lose sight of herself in the business. She maintains an unconventional sophisticated self and states that it remaining true to oneself is vital and owns her opinions and decision making (Bornstein and Adam, 2016). Tilton displays few negative traits such as dictatorship though by a small extent. Tilton describes herself as a benevolent dictator: she likes to be in control which makes her an enemy of delegation. Clearly, Tilton is an example of good leadership as she displays quite a set of good traits.

To what extent does Tilton display situational approaches toward leadership? Explain. 

Situation approaches require that a leader is able to determine the goals to be achieved, identify the leadership styles that are appropriate in the situations at hand, acknowledge other possible situations that may arise and know how to deal with them, be able to recognize the best combination of styles that work for the situation putting into consideration other possibilities and determine how to bring correspondence with the combination so that it best works for the situation. Tilton displays situational approaches to a great extent by being able to clearly set her goals and participate in attaining them. She combines task motivated style with relationships motivated style to bring about effective leadership. She is aware of other possible situation and is very clear on how to deal with them for instance in the case of incompetence among workers which she clearly states has no place in her business. Tilton has goals for her business and is purposed to attain them. That way she does not consider giving up as evident from the American LaFrance scenario where she drive down revenue by half in an attempt to improve profits and yet still tries to revive the company despite the shortcoming.

Which of the four types of transformational leadership behavior were displayed by Tilton? Provide examples. 

Tilton exhibits inspirational motivation type of transformational leadership. Inspirational motivation includes the establishment of a clear vision for the future. The vision should be realistic and credible as well as reflect optimism and enthusiasm. The vision should be able to influence commitment from workers, promote high ideas and compensate current problems in the future so as to render it attractive for workers. Workers need to see the possibility in the vision of the business. In Tilton’s case, her vision for her company are clearly set which is to make a profit by buying distressed companies and investing in them new management and product to revive them to a profitable position. The vision is realistic and attainable as she already has excelled in the past when she started with buying two big portfolio companies and realizing that being in control was the best strategy to make a profit and it did work leading her to buy more companies. Through her success, workers are able to see the potential of her company and know the mission towards which to work. Tilton’s participation and engaging with workers motivates them to work as they feel useful within the companies. Needless to say, Tilton and her business are a source of inspiration in that despite the business being of a unique nature she was able to grow it to an eight billion a more business which retaliates the solidity of her vision.

Would you like to work for Lynn Tilton? Explain why or why not. 

Tilton presents herself as a leader who is charismatic, focused, authentic and ambitious to say the least. That does not prevent her from associating with her workers and interacting with them to ignite the knowledge and grow them. Consequently, Tilton is a stern leader who is very clear about her expectation of the workers in her companies. She also inspires one through her persistence, intelligence, and accomplishment in such a distinct line of business. Her accomplishment in the business defines the none existence of a limit to anything one puts their mind to while her refusal to give up on the America LaFrance fire truck maker despite the huge loss builds optimism among workers. Tilton remains true to herself and does not seek approval from people but rather seeks that people see her through her accomplishment and intelligence. Her spirit of hard work right from educating herself through business school to being the owner of all and parts of 74 companies with more than a hundred thousand employees and worth over 8 billion dollars are driving forces to any optimistic individual. All these aspects and characteristics, therefore, make Tilton an employer of choice.

What can be discerned about leadership from this case? 

Leadership is a role that focuses on the achievement of goals set and involves influencing others, the subjects towards those goals. Leadership is different from management in that leaders deal with the relations between persons in an organization while managers are more about the systems in the organization such as planning, strategizing and control. As quoted by Baus, “Leaders manage and managers lead but the two activities are not synonymous.” Leadership does require management skills at some point although good leaders are not generally good managers. Leadership is defined by traits such as intelligence, dominance, passion, authenticity, confidence, participation and significant knowledge. Factors such as emotional intelligence and personality play a crucial role in leadership. Leadership is prone to inefficiency as a consequence of bad traits in leaders and the need for evaluation of personal traits in finding a good leader to influence towards efficiency. Leadership requires strategy and all-roundedness to handle as it deals with the people rather than the system and procedures. It requires a well-calculated approach and a firm elaborate basis in order to yield results and therefore leadership drives the attainment of goals and the attitudes towards work and its processes.


Bornstein, Jordan and Adam (2016). 22 Qualities that make a great leader. Entrepreneur Media Inc. Retrieved on from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270486.

Kreitner, R. & Kinicki, A. (2013). Organizational behavior . New Jersey, NJ: McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings, LLC.

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