Executive Leadership

You know this already: It takes confidence to advance from middle management to leadership. Luckily, you can learn to feel confident.

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Some of the smartest employees are also the toughest to lead. Their ideas, de­mands and egos can deplete your time and energy. To maximize your most brilliant minds, look for ways to support their success.

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To create a more collaborative culture, CEO Gregg Steinhafel encourages Target’s 365,000 employees to harness social media. The retail giant has developed an internal online platform that enables workers at all levels to post comments, share ideas and engage in Facebook-like interaction with each other.

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As a U.S. Army Reserve Special Forces officer, Chad Storlie learned from great leaders while serving in Iraq and Bosnia. He has applied those lessons to his corporate career as a sales and marketing executive for General Electric and Comcast.

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Projects are too important to not finish them, and as a leader, you can influence how and when projects end and make the ending strong.

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They may look just like any other of the 1,600 Panera locations, but five Panera Cares cafés don’t use price lists or cash registers. After three years, this pioneering effort—the first time a major U.S. corporation has put resources behind making pay-what-you-can work—is surviving.

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While everyone has been using Facebook and Twitter, it seems, Google+ has been gaining ground. Here’s a basic primer on getting around Google+.

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Entrepreneur Yuri Milner is the man behind the Breakthrough Prize, which bequeaths top scientists with large cash awards—not just to fund their research, but for any purpose they see fit.

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During nearly 5½ years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Lee Ellis relied on his sense of humor to keep him going. But it took his first three months in captivity for him to recapture his ability to laugh. Then 24, Ellis recalls the first time he flashed his humor as a POW.

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Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, likes to introduce himself as the com­pany’s customer service representative. He’s part joking, but his point is clear. By focusing on serving customers, Newmark preserves his brand.

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