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Leadership Qualities Of The CEO Of Woolworths

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Discuss about the Leadership and Change Management.


Overview of the case study

In the present age of competition, leadership is crucial in terms of maintaining the market position. This is applicable for every company and organizations, including Woolworths in Australian threshold. Herein, the role of CEO attains prime importance, as he is the agent, whose performance and guidance paves the way of success for the company, Woolworths (, 2017). The focus of this assessment is on the leadership qualities of the CEO of Woolworths, which altered its performance in the competitive ambience of Australian market. The earlier sentence brings the two variables, leadership and change in an equal alignment. Countering this, one variable leads to the other. As a matter of specification, exposure of appropriate leadership skills in accordance with the circumstances helps the personnel of Woolworth to adopt the proposed changes (Halkias et al., 2017).

Justification of the selection of Woolworths

Four things define the leadership qualities of the CEO of Woolworths. Dedication and clarity in the performance of the tasks bears correlation with the word “justification” in the heading of the assignment. Exposure of energetic approach in executing the tasks acts as an inspiration for the employees of Woolworths for displaying better performance. These attributes of the CEO contradicts the characteristic features of Coles CEO, who, even after encountering challenges did not seek out ways and means for amending the performance (, 2017). The approach towards the performance of basic marketing tasks acts as a common ground for speculation of the leadership qualities. Conscious attitude towards upgradation of the performance proved fortunate for the CEO of Woolworths (, 2017). In contrast to this, exposure of negligence in terms of application of the leadership qualities aggravated the complexities of Coles. The major drive behind this is the provision of guidance and motivation to the employees by the CEO of Woolworths. This provision enabled Woolworths to enjoy a competitive advantage over contemporary brands, such as, Coles (, 2017).

Speculation of the performance of Coles in terms of leadership qualities broadens the scope and arena of the assessment. Along with this, the comparative study establishes relevancy with the requirements of the assessment. The action of assessing relates with the word “justification”. In-depth discussion about the leadership qualities of Woolworth CEO is itself an indication of the rationale behind the selection.

Issues affecting the performance of Woolworths through leadership

As per the propositions of, (2017) recent performance of Woolworths projected noticeable decline in the market share. This decline has compelled the Australian retail company, Woolworths to witness crisis, such as, customer turnover. This situation has provided contemporary brands like Coles with the chance to enjoy competitive advantage. Herein, lays the drawback of the CEO in terms of exposing effective management skills to organize the business activities in an effective manner (Renz, 2016). This drawback contradicts the true essence of the aspect of leadership, which is crucial in terms of maintaining the hard-earned market position. These issues bears resemblance with the article entitled, Management mistake costs Woolworths (, 2017). The term “mistake” relates to the failure of the CEO in terms of exposing appropriate leadership skills for maintaining the integrity of the organizational structure of Woolworths. Viewing it from other perspective, the term “costs” can be considered as a compensation that the CEO needs is entrusted to pay to the sufferers, that is, the customers. The placement of management at the first place can be accounted as putting the blame on the CEO for the degrading performance.

The drawbacks highlighted in the previous paragraph necessitate the importance of theoretical framework, which proves helpful for the CEO of Woolworth in terms of overcoming the drawbacks. Rectification of the drawbacks is a gradual progression towards the upgradation of the personality (Beck & Cowan, 2014).  


Theoretical framework to the case study

Theoretical framework possesses flexibility to enliven the intensity of the subject matter. This is applicable for any and every kind of topic, including the current one on leadership and change management.

Circumstances alter the characteristic traits of the individuals. Emerging successful, in effective handling of the circumstances, give rise to a leader out of an individual. This transformation bears resemblance with the propositions of Trait Theory (Halkias et al., 2017). Countering this, there are certain inbuilt traits within the individuals, which flows out as per the requirements. Exposure of dedication and commitment in the performance of the basic tasks itself brings noticeable changes in the performance of the individuals. These attributes bears resemblance with the characteristic traits of Woolworths CEO. As a matter of specification, exposure of dedication, passion and perseverance altered the behavioral conduct of the CEO of Woolworths (Hechanova & Cementina, 2013). The earlier sentence conjoins both behavioral theory and trait theory on the grounds of leadership.

Due to the transformation in the behavioral conduct of the individuals, the aspect of greatness in added to their personality. Viewing it from the perspective of this case, intellectual exposure of leadership skills proved beneficial for Woolworths in terms of escalating the market size, scope and arena. The major drive behind this is the hard work, dedication and commitment of the CEO towards preservation of the organizational values, which projects him as a “great man”. Herein, lays the symbolic significance of Great Man Theory (Beck & Cowan, 2014).  

Selection of relevant theory

Out of the diverse theories on leadership and change management, behavioral theory; trait theory and great man theory have seen selected. All these theories are interrelated with each other. At the first instance, undertaking daring and challenging tasks brings certain changes within the behavioral conduct of the individuals. These changes qualify the individuals as leaders, which enhances their personality. The earlier sentence places the trait theory in the first place. Next in sequence is the behavioral theory, which leads to the changes, that needs to be brought about for beautification of the personality (Renz, 2016). All these aspects prove true in case of Woolworth CEO. Attaching the concept of change in this context, application of effective management techniques helps the CEO of Woolworths to emerge successful in paving the way of success for the company. In respect to the change management, great man theory is selected. The action of optimizing inculcates self-organizational skills within the individuals, which is one of the other components of leadership qualities. Self-organizational skills can be linked with the aspect of change. As a matter of specification, evaluation of the exposed performance made the Woolworth CEO aware of the internal drawbacks and weakness, which needs to be changes for the betterment of the company (Hechanova & Cementina, 2013). This evaluation acts as a cornerstone in terms of emerging as a successful leader.

Justification behind the selection of Great Man Theory

According to the arguments of Pugh, (2016), the vastness of the word, “great” relates to the effective and judicious utilization of the preconceived skills, expertise and knowledge by the individuals. Herein, lays the correlation with the aspect if change. Application of consciousness in this utilization helps the individuals in emerging as leaders. The word “man” is the advancement of the individuals towards the attainment of personal development. Viewing this from the perspective of the requirements of the assessment, dedication, commitment and hardworking nature of the CEO acted as an inspiration for the employees to expose better performance (Carter et al., 2013). Upgradation in the performance of the employees simultaneously enhances the status of the CEO. This enhancement brings personal as well as professional development for Woolworth CEO. This development bears correlation with the tag of “great man”, which enhances the individuality of the CEO.

One of the other shades of this theory is the effective utilization of the achieved power. Misutilization of the possessed power stalls the development process. The case of Woolworth CEO nullifies the earlier sentence. The major drive behind this is the commitment exposed by the CEO towards the execution of the basic tasks (Goodwin, 2016). Viewing this from other perspectives, the crisis phase of Woolworth reflects the failure of CEO to maintain the brand image. Displaying negligence towards the restoration of normalcy would have made the situation of Woolworths similar to Coles. However, CEO’s quest towards restoring the customer loyalty proved beneficial for Woolworths in terms of re-achieving the hard-earned place (Hornstein, 2015).


The assessment emerges successful in providing an insight into leadership and change management. An insight into the leadership qualities of Woolworth CEO makes the readers aware of the dynamics of marketing activities undertaken by the company to emerge successful in the competitive race. The application of theoretical framework enlivens its necessity for the outpour of appropriate leadership qualities. Reference to a number of theories enriches the knowledge of the readers on the theories, which aids in bringing noticeable changes within the personality traits of the individuals though leadership. Optimization of these theories reflects the individual capability in terms of selecting the most appropriate source that acts as an agent in the transformation from an ordinary individual to a leader. Taking the case study of Coles CEO into consideration broadens the scope and arena of the assessment.


References (2017). High performing teams-interview with Grant O’ Brien, CEO Woolworth. Retrieved 4 April 2017 from

Beck, D. E., & Cowan, C. (2014). Spiral dynamics: Mastering values, leadership and change. John Wiley & Sons. (2017). Management mistakes cost Woolworth. Retrieved 5 April 2017, from

Carter, M. Z., Armenakis, A. A., Feild, H. S., & Mossholder, K. W. (2013). Transformational leadership, relationship quality, and employee performance during continuous incremental organizational change. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34(7), 942-958.

Goodwin, M. (2016). Change Management and Leadership. In WCOM (World Class Operations Management) (pp. 185-196). Springer International Publishing.

Halkias, D., Santora, J. C., Harkiolakis, N., & Thurman, P. W. (Eds.). (2017). Leadership and change management: A cross-cultural perspective. Routledge.

Hechanova, R. M., & Cementina-Olpoc, R. (2013). Transformational leadership, change management, and commitment to change: A comparison of academic and business organizations. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 22(1), 11-19.

Hornstein, H. A. (2015). The integration of project management and organizational change management is now a necessity. International Journal of Project Management, 33(2), 291-298.

Pugh, L. (2016). Change management in information services. Routledge.

Renz, D. O. (2016). The Jossey-Bass handbook of nonprofit leadership and management. John Wiley & Sons. (2017). Coles is not changing despite Woolworths challenges. Retrieved 4 April 2017 from (2017). About Us. Retrieved 4 April 2017 from


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