Anna Wintour Assignment
The Leadership Style of Anne Wintour Nawid Obaydi British born Anna Wintour, born on November 3rd 1948 is the current editor in chief of world renowned fashion magazine ‘Vogue’. Having started her career in fashion in the early 1970’s working at Harpers and Queen in London, Anna Wintour has decades of experience in the fashion industry and is seen as one of the most influential figures in the fashion world.
Anna Wintour was born to a father who was editor of the ‘London Evening Standard’, it was quite clear that Anna adopted her stern and tough working attitude from her father who was known as ‘Chilly Charlie’ within the media world due to his cold demeanour quite like his daughter who is known as ‘Nuclear Wintour’. Anna Wintour’s leadership style adopts a very authoritarian style approach due to the fact that it is evident she has clear expectations about how work should be carried out, in what style and within which time span.
Due to her dominating attitude within the work place, it is also very noticeable that there is a clear division between the editor-in-chief of Vogue and the rest of the organisation; nonetheless Anna does incorporate certain aspects of a democratic leader such as being consulted by her Creative Director Grace Coddington which shows that Anna does not make decisions based on her sole input but rather allows her decisions to be influenced by those around her which therefore shows that Anna does not incorporate one particular leadership style but rather a mixture of both authoritarian and democratic. The Devil Wears Prada’ is a multi-award winning motion picture which is also based on Anna Wintour and her working and home life, although Anna argues that the film does not portray a realistic view of Anna Wintour, some critics argue that the real Anna Wintour can be seen within the film.
From judging Anna Wintour, it is evident that she adopts a very humanistic approach within her behaviour and the way that she is perceived by others, the humanistic approach which was developed by Rogers states that ‘individuals experience a need for personal growth and fulfilment’ (Rogers, 1970) which is evident within the behaviour of Anna Wintour as she is a erson who feeds off success and therefore continues to be a key figure within the fashion industry. Anna Wintour can also be described as aloof and emotionally distant from others which could be a reason as to why she is in such high demand, these specific personality traits also coincide with Allports personality theory within which he states that people within a specific population area share the same trait(s) (Allport).
This theory could relate to Anna Wintour due to the fact that she was born in England and the English culture could be argued is not one that is particularly an emotional culture especially within the early 1940’s which is when Anna was born. Anna Wintour’s father Charles Wintour could also be the reason behind Anna’s emotionless personality due to the fact that Charles Wintour was an editor who displayed a tough and stern personality style within the workplace and this proved to be a success for him so it may seem as if Anna is following in her father’s footsteps.
Having observed Anna Wintour through various interviews and magazine articles, one specific identifiable trait that she possesses is the fact that she has a strong sense of self belief as she does not change her personality or the way in she conducts herself depending on where she is or who she is with even though she works within the fashion industry where wearing the same clothes twice is considered a crime.
Anna Wintour’s personality can also come across as being extremely demanding which within the public eye can make her seem challenging to work with which could be a reason why she is such a prolific and controversial character. In order to understand Anna Wintour’s behaviour on a much more in-depth level, I decided to conduct a test of personality based on the ‘Big Five’ which consists of Extroversion, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Openness.
Due to her dominant presence and the fact that she is very opinionated, I believe she rates highly as being quite an extrovert as she displays signs of quality leadership and she is sociable. On the neuroticism scale, I would rate Anna Wintour quite a low rating due to the fact that she rarely displays signs of emotion or nervousness and her personality is fairly consistent.
Anna Wintour would rate very highly on the conscientiousness scale because in order to become the prominent figure she is today she had to display signs of perseverance and hard work nonetheless he would receive low ratings on agreeableness as she is not cooperative or friendly but rather impatient and this would also be similar on her rating on the openness scale due to the fact that she is a very closed figure and does not like to be consulted by others around her except those she has known for a long time such as her creative director. By conducting the Big Five personality test, the results have shown that Wintour’s personality traits have generated and developed from her biological heritage and shared culture which further reinstates Allports personality theory.
Anna Wintour’s leadership style will have several impacts not only on the organisation but also on the employees. Due to her demanding manner employees may feel demotivated when working but also because their input is not taken into consideration as it is Anna Wintour who makes the ultimate and therefore the labour turnover within her organisation may be at a high rate, nonetheless by adopting an authoritarian leadership style many employees may feel this is an incentive for them to work harder in order to please Anna Wintour.
Studies conducted by The Ohio State University studies in the 1950’s and 1960’s showed that there were two types of leader behaviours, these being ‘initiating structure’ and ‘consideration’ and it is evident that within Anna Wintour’s organisation she adopts an initiating structure leader behaviour as she ‘focuses on the achievement of objectives and includes clear supervision and role clarification’ (Brooks, 2011).
Adopting an authoritarian leadership style means that there is a clear division between Anna Wintour and the rest of the employees within the organisation, this means that there is a centralised decision making process but it may also make Anna’s employees feel devalued or separated from those higher up within the hierarchy which could have a significant impact on employee morale.
Nonetheless the authoritarian leadership style may impact beneficially on both Anna Wintour’s organisation and her employees, by delegating tasks quickly and effectively this means that employees are able to produce effective results in critical situations which are crucial when working within the fashion industry in particular the magazine sector. Adopting an authoritarian leadership style also means that there is a high level of discipline within the organisation which could be a reason that contributes to the success of Vogue magazine because employees know the difference between right and wrong and also know there are severe mplications if they were to do something wrong, this also means that employees will work to the best of their abilities in order to please those higher up within the hierarchy.
In conclusion, Anna Wintour has proven to be an effective and successful leader regardless of the leadership style she has adopted in order to do so. Her cold hearted and uncooperative personality has become part of her identity and it is one of the main reasons why she is such a prominent figure in the fashion world today and why journalists and fashion designers alike are all eager to please her.Although the authoritarian leadership style may not work for the majority of businesses it has proven to be a success for both Anna Wintour and the Vogue organisation.