Leadership And Teamwork Skills In Caterpillar Management Essay

The report which I have prepared tells about the ways by which leadership qualities and team success can be improved in an organization. Now days organizations are spending a lot of resources on training the employee to be a good industry leader for coming future. In addition to this organizations are also grooming employees by introducing training and development programs, so that employee can adapt themselves to work in a team. This will help the organization to achieve the optimized output and economic benefits.


Every organization effectiveness and profitability depends on its leadership quality and teamwork. Better they are, better will be the productivity. Organizations goals and commitments can only be achieved, if there is a self regulatory teamwork. Teamwork not only develops the public relation skill in an employee but at the same time develops timely execution of work with accuracy and efficiency. An organization can still be successful if it has an efficient leader but inefficient team. If there is an efficient team and inefficient leader, the company will never be able to compete or be successful in a market. At the current time of recession, leaders visualize the changes need to bring in an organization and consider this periods as an opportunity to diversify them.

In practical life it is been observed that leadership and teamwork goes hand to hand. They both are two sides of a coin; they both are mostly use in place of one another. It is very difficult to differentiate them.


Discussion on leadership is not a new area of topic. It is been discussed and criticized from the ancient times. Leadership is very complex and it is applied universally but still there is no general definition of leadership as it is studied and practiced in number of ways, which require different definition of each.

Kotter believes that leadership is not a trait with which a person is born with, it can be developed; it can be made perfect by exposing to the working environment of an industry or can be learned as life is an ongoing learning process at each single step (Kotter J. P, 1999).

According to Stogdill, leadership is a process which involves social phenomena in which an employee exercises power and influences group or an entity behavior to achieve desired goals (Stogdill, 1974).

Useem defines leadership as a “Subject of making a difference” in which an organization chooses reasonable alternatives to get a particular work done by mobilizing and motivating employee (Mullins L. J, 2009).


In today’s world, time is a luxury. This in future will be very less so organizations give priority to the teamwork, as its speeds up the process. It is experienced that, when an employee of an organization work in a team. It makes an organization move ahead in a precise direction. This also make easy for them to implement changes (Kotter J. P, 1996).

Katzenbach and Smith define teamwork as a “small number of people with complementary skills, who are committed to a common purpose, performance and goal, and approach for which they are mutually accountable (Katzenbach and Smith, 1999).”

From a long time it’s been observed and debated that group work and teamwork are both different entity in an organization. They both distinct each other on the basis of the mutual responsibility for a common goal, In addition to this leadership style also differ in both of them. For example in teamwork there is a shared or a rotating leadership. Where as in a group there is a solo leadership (Robbins, 2005).

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As a consultant for Caterpillar, I will be going through their leadership and teamwork programme and will be giving them recommendation on ways of increasing leadership and teamwork success.

C:Documents and SettingsadMy DocumentsMy Picturescaterpillar_logo.gif Leadership and teamwork qualities in Caterpillar

Caterpillar is a multinational company with a turnover of 22.7 billion pounds and with its operation in more than fifty countries with manpower of 100,000. Caterpillar is not a manufacturer of a single product; it has a wide range of portfolio from Cat logistic, Cat financial, Cat rental to Cat cranes. Their success and increase in market share to large extent goes to its leadership qualities and teamwork success. In Caterpillar there are around 8500 leader and 6500 supervisors (Caterpillar Inc. annual report, 2003).

Mr. Benjamin Holt is an owner of a Caterpillar, which come in fortune 500 companies and they are ranked 44. Mr. Benjamin Holt has the following leadership qualities:

Diversity and safety: diversification in terms of race, customs or comprehensive knowledge or variety of different other thing which will lead to the new ideas. This at last will be beneficial for the development of a new product. For example, for this they recruited people from minorities group and females in there groups. He also believed, if there is less injury to his employees. Then number of days without work will be less. This will ultimately result in minimization of cost. So he always emphasis on safety of his employees (Kirkpatrick. D. L, & Kirkpatrick J. D, 2006).

Integrity: Mr. Benjamin believes that his company foundation is based on the honesty and the commitments which he makes with his employees, customers and business associates.

Risk taker: after creating an impact on the American, South American and European countries. Now caterpillar is trying to invade Indian and china market with huge investments, as these markets are not catered with the services provided by them. (Caterpillar Inc. annual report, 2003).

A leader in a caterpillar has the following role to play:

Leader ensures the safety and the sustainability- Caterpillar believes that their success totally depends upon the safety and sustainability of their employee. So leader should encourage its counter employee that they apply these measures in daily life. Leader should also help the peer employ learn to do so (Orlemann. Eric. C, 2000).

Transfer of knowledge- leader let it peer employ know about the various things going in the caterpillar by carrying out the meetings.

Recoginisition of the employee-leader in caterpillar should find an employee who contributes a lot in the leadership of a company.

Recruitment of a new talent-leader in a caterpillar recruits the new talent and makes them know about the goals and value caterpillar believes in so that they can be a future caterpillar leader (Leffingwell. Randy, 1994).

Advocate and share success: leader in caterpillar shares success and accomplishments with its peer employees and advocate their rights in behalf of them in front of the top level of management

Caterpillar believe that there leaders have following qualities which differ them from the rest of the industry leaders. These are urge for leadership, good command on language as well as they are self starter of in what so ever task they do.

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Leadership programme in Caterpillar

Caterpillar gives training to its supervisors by placing them in the Caterpillar University College of leadership, so that they can understand and develop themselves for the different leader levels (Caterpillar, 2009).

Caterpillar evaluates and tries to fill the gap between the existing leadership potential of a leader with the capability of leadership which caterpillar need to execute in its strategic vision (Caterpillar, 2009).

Caterpillar recently introduced a course for its mid level and frontline leaders, which is known as six sigma course. This is basically employed to increase the efficiency and to reduce the time spent away from the job by leaders. In this leader were given class room’s lessons, proficiency and expertise practice. They were also taught about the caterpillar values and priorities.

Caterpillar uses very distinct style to increase leadership among its leader. They call leaders from the different departments of company and make them debate on the specific problem, which they are facing currently. This kind of a debate leads to a solution. As a result leaders from different departments get knowledge, that how to tackle a problem. It also helps them in generating new idea, which is not only beneficial for their department but for other departments of company as well (Caterpillar, 2009).

Caterpillar do not hire third party for training there leaders or supervisors (who will be future leader). They are been guided and taught by the high level management people, for example vice president or chief executive officer of a Caterpillar. As they believe that they are most respected people in the industry and they are the world class in their specific field (Development Dimension International, 2008).

Team work in caterpillar

Caterpillar believes that by working in the team they can achieve good results instead of working individually. They believe it’s good to share talent and knowledge with the employees we work with and live with. This will ultimately result in high productivity. Caterpillar believes that in teamwork there are number of members with different values and discipline, which will create a new idea. This can be helpful for company (Haddock. K & Orlemann. E.C, 2001).

As per S.P Robbins “teamwork not only depends on the individual technical knowledge but it solely depends, how well they gel with one another (Robbins, 2005).”

Caterpillar applies teamwork, when they are manufacturing a same kind of a product or dealing with the other business entities then their own business.

For example vendor development. As caterpillar is a multinational company with offices in so many countries, so they have to deal with various government regulations and economic policies this makes them form a team which provides flexibility to its manufacturing programme.

Drawbacks in leadership and teamwork skills in Caterpillar as per me:

Caterpillar still uses the taylorist model, in which the work is divided between the people. Which is of the same form of a work, they are been doing from the past many years. This does not upgrade their knowledge and innovation skills. Which s very important at the current situation, where there is uncertainty in market and lot of competition.

As the employees need to perform repetitive work in a team, they will not be having the power of judgment and the skill of communicating socially.

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By making leaders debate on a problem, this can lead to a conflict between them. As all of them might be having different opinions and views.

Caterpillar do not hire third party for the training of their leaders, they are trained by their seniors only. This kind of training is not successful as the leaders will not be able to know the various different ways, different leader think and tackle problems.

Ways of increasing leadership skill in caterpillar

Caterpillar needs to identify and recruit charismatic leaders. Who develops and visualizes the core vision. Who are willing to take the personal risk to achieve the pre determined vision, which they have set. At the same time, they are willing to react for its members need. For example John F Kennedy and Steve Jobs, they were the leaders who had these qualities and made their organization best among the best (Robbins S. P, Judge T. A, and Sanghi S, 2009).

Caterpillar needs to customize the training and development program for its leader as per their needs and the requirement of organization. By seminars and speeches, leaders just get motivated. There is no effect on their performance. So there should be a customized training program.

Caterpillar can apply a new technique to improve the quality of leadership among its leaders. In which they can pair highly skilled leaders with the newly elected leader and make them work for six to seven months. This will help the new leader to align his speed and skills with the highly skilled leader. This will ultimately increase the efficiency (Jared L. Bleak, 2007).

Ways of increasing teamwork in Caterpillar

Efficiency of teamwork can be increase if there are right people in a right team, with a right attitude. This can be judged by a job analysts appointed by an organizations (Harrington M. D, 1994).

By making goal understand to each and every member of a team with the help of a flowchart or with Parteo chart, will result in a successful teamwork (Kattzenback. J and Smith. D, 1993).

Caterpillar can increase the efficiency of teamwork by making members of each team, write goals and motive on their shirts. This will help them to create a positive environment and team spirit. For example General Electric practiced this and it resulted in a positive outcome (Harrington M. D, 1994).

To increase the efficiency of teamwork, caterpillar needs to allow team members to make their own plan, inspect quality of work, of their own and plan their budget. This will make them committed to the Caterpillar (Larson. C and Lafasto. F, 1989).

In teamwork, there are number of people from different backgrounds and culture. To minimize the chances of conflicts and individualism in a team. Caterpillar should organize get together events, where these members can socialize and build a strong relation.

Caterpillar should start giving team incentives, as it will be beneficial in two ways. First it will induce team members to work hard to achieve the team goals. Secondly, there will be same incentive for each team member. So there will be no competition, there will be a atmosphere of cooperation and harmony (Cascio, 1995).

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