Profiles in Leadership

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A combat veteran of World War I, Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright was posted to the Philippines in 1941. Forced to surrender after being overwhelmed by Japanese forces in the battle for Bataan Peninsula, he spent more than three years in captivity. He anxiously asked the commandos who finally found him what had been on his mind all that time: Was he considered a disgrace?
The wartime letters of Thomas Jefferson to George Washington and other Revolution leaders offer a vivid glimpse into the mind of a great leader in a time of crisis. Most of them contain four key elements.

The next time you wonder if you should say what you’re thinking, remember Molly Ivins, the newspaper columnist who made a career doing it.

When Maestro Wolfgang Heinzel stands before the Merck Orchestra, he may look like an authoritarian leader, commanding musicians from his podium. But Heinzel doesn’t actually know how to play the instruments himself—“in the same way a leader in an organization can’t do everyone’s job,” says Jon Chilingerian. Here is what maestros—and good leaders—understand.

John Goeken didn’t earn the name “Jack the Giant Killer” for nothing. The Midwesterner who broke AT&T’s grip on the telephone industry had a passion to make communication possible anywhere. If people told him he couldn’t do something, he’d do it just to prove that he could. And boy, did he do it.
Unless you’ve spent time on the playground lately, or have kids of your own, you may know nothing about the latest schoolyard craze: Silly Bandz. The story of Robert Croak, the man behind them, holds lessons for entrepreneurs in search of the next big thing.
Born into a life of privilege in New York City in 1897, Margaret Rudkin learned to bake bread from her Irish grandmother. Marrying a broker, she began a life in high society. Then two calamities hit: the Depression and an accident that laid up her husband for months. Here's how Rudkin proved it's possible to bounce back from adversity to achieve success.
Most historians say that Robert E. Lee’s decision to head the Confederate army was inevitable. Not true. Lee was almost equally devoted to the United States and to his home state of Virginia. Two trunks of recently retrieved family papers show how hard he suffered in choosing sides ...
One way to understand Pope John Paul II as a leader is to look at his papacy—the first held by a non-Italian pope in 455 years—as a vehicle for change. In part, here's how Karol Wojtyla surprised and affected so many people around the world.
Yvon Chouinard, founder of outdoor outfitter Patagonia, is the very definition of a late bloomer. Moving at age 8 to California with his parents, Chouinard was at first a loner, roaming outdoors by himself. Eventually, he fell in with fellow “misfits” in falconry and climbing. What they sorely needed was gear, so the kid built a forge and eked out a living by forging pitons to anchor climbing ropes ...
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