Saturday, December 18, 2010


(Part 1) (Part 2) Finishing up my profile on James F. Lincoln, I would like to focus on what I believe to be one of his greatest abilities, Empowering his people. For his time he was a revolutionary thinker that was able to put his forward thinking into tangible results. For example, His workers wages nearly doubled during the Great Depression. That feat alone would have put him into the annuls of Great Leaders. He continually looked for ways to make his workforce more efficient and profitable not only for the company but for the workers as well. How did he effectively Empower his people?

  1. Job Security: James was convinced that if workers new that they wouldn't work themselves out of a job, they would increase their productivity. He accomplished this in two ways: First, he guaranteed all employees at least 30hrs of work after their one year probationary period. Secondly, he established a job change and enlargement policy whenever profits allowed it. Reinforcing that Job Security was a priority for management he implemented a policy of hiring from within. All job postings where first published and posted at the factory, therefore allowing the workers to apply for the positions prior to the general public. Lastly, to show that productivity was a collective responsibility he removed all signs of status. This applied mainly to management. Managers where expected to eat lunch in a common lunch room with their people. Also, Managers offices where modestly furnished. 
  2. Awareness of Profitability:  James ensured that all employees new about the companies profitability by starting a company stock purchase program. He first introduced this in 1914 as a benefit for Managers. Then in 1925, the program was open to all employees. This was accomplished by allotting one-third of stock  for employees. By 1980 almost 50% of Lincoln Electric stock was owned by employees. James gave the following reasons for starting the Stock purchase program:
  • It Strengthens Team spirit.
  • It Motivates concern for Company profitability
  • It Educated employees regarding Company profitability
  • It Reduces the gulf between the worker and the boss.
James F. Lincoln knew that people were assets not liabilities. This mentality is what put the employees and their success first.  Once the employees where empowered and they knew that the company would follow through on promises, the sky was the limit. During a time in American history when most companies crashed and burned, Lincoln Electric, under the Leadership of James F. Lincoln , soared to new heights. 

I hope you enjoyed this profile on James F. Lincoln. If you have any ideas of future profiles you would like to see. Please comment below. 

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