“The primary quality produced by authentic leadership is trust” (Robbins & Judge, 2015, p. 349). The trust between Oprah and her employees is extraordinary. She hires people that follow her vision and managers that she trusts to get the job done correctly. Her audience members trust that the information she is relaying is truthful and accurate. Trust is clearly a two- street and Oprah has it with her employees and her audience. Trait Theory –Manny “Trait theories of leadership [are the bundle of theories] that consider personal qualities and characteristics that differentiate leaders from nonleaders (Robbins & Judge, 2015, p. 333). Research done after 1990, has concluded that individuals who display the Big Five Personality Model, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to experience, are more likely to display leadership skills. Displaying such traits however, does not guarantee the leader will make the necessary connection with the team to ensure it is effective. Oprah Winfrey dos not only possess those traits, but she has also led multiple teams to successful outcomes. A point worth highlighting is that virtually all employees, who have worked under the leadership of Oprah Winfrey, have felt very rewarded from it. They find in Oprah is someone they can look up to, a mentor and a leader, and when she speaks, they listen and follow through. “The ability to influence others in such a way as to enhance one’s objectives” is how political skill is defined (Robbins & Judge, 2015, p. 375). Oprah Winfrey’s cornerstone is that she is such a well-known public figure and leader to many people. Her influence matters and will be carried a long way to all the people that she reaches. She displays traits of an effective
OPRAH WINFREY 22 manager by encouraging change and innovation, facilitating teamwork, improving efficiency, being career-minded, and confident. Her leadership style of always being appreciative toward her audience and her employees, has allowed her to drive her enterprises with a strong vision of hard work, and mutual respect and harmony. Oprah’s extraordinary leadership and strong communication skills can be fully appreciated, on an interview she did at Harvard University with Nancy Koehn. Koehn had the idea to create a case study series from this interview for her students at Harvard [Mar06]. The interview unveils multiple passages in Oprah’s life, from her humble and troubling young years to her extraordinary career as a communicator icon on TV and different media enterprises. She comes across with a strong message to the young audience of integrity, an example of restlessness effort always striving to push herself to become better at what she is good at. They discuss how she became the “the queen of the talk shows” by being on top of this industry throughout all the term of the known Oprah Winfrey Show for 25 years [Mar06]. Oprah felt very proud of this accomplishment, it surely was a milestone achieved with keen discipline, and she was used to being on top.
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