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As General Motors attempts to make a recovery, one key factor will be its leadership. Many critics argued that GM did not deserve a bailout because its leadership was “too stuck in the past.” Now the company has a CEO that admits he is not a “car guy.” Can the company succeed? Better yet, will Mr. Akerson be happy with a job that is considerably more demanding and pays substantially less than he made at the Carlyle Group. No doubt, there are tensions within the hierarchy of GM, but the initial public offering last November reduced the Government’s stake in the company by more than half.


  1. Would you describe Daniel Akerson as a servant leader? Why or why not?
  2. Mr. Akerson admits he does not have much job-relevant knowledge, a key leadership trait. What traits does he appear to possess? Assess the likelihood of his success at GM.
  3. The article certainly does not depict Mr. Akerson as having a contemporary leadership style. Review the classic leadership styles and assign one to him. What are the reasons for your choice?

SOURCE: M. Langley & S. Terlep, “’I’m Not a Car Guy’: On the Road with the New Man at GM’s Wheel,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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