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Profiles in Leadership

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In just over a decade, the Tufts University men’s lacrosse team has gone from worst to first under head coach Mike Daly. Instead of focusing on wins, Daly urged players to take pride in mastering the details and always improving their craft.
Starting his career as a junior naval officer, Adm. Elmo Zumwalt Jr. earned a series of promotions to become the youngest vice admiral in Navy history. He commanded U.S. naval forces in Vietnam and, at age 49, became chief of naval operations—the youngest man to serve as the Navy’s highest-ranking ­officer.
Typically, a CEO who seeks to impress an important client will defer to the client’s wishes. But Linda Kaplan Thaler isn’t a typical CEO. As chief executive of a big New York advertising agency, she recalls a 2001 meeting with Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp.
Many CEOs favor fact-based leadership. Rather than rely on their impressions or gut instinct, they tend to scrutinize facts and make decisions rooted in hard data. Alan Mulally, Ford Motor’s 68-year-old CEO, has stood out among leaders of American auto companies for his intense focus on numbers.

With the passing of actor Andy Griffith in 2012, his most famous TV character, Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry, is worth another look for his low-key brand of leadership. Here are a few of the sheriff’s lessons on caring more and fussing less.

There’s no single method to motivate entry-level employees. You need a range of communication tools to ignite their on-the-job passion. Consider the example set by Rich Snyder of In-N-Out Burger.
For Daniel Vasella, former chairman of Novartis, success comes with self-awareness. He finds that effective leaders possess four strengths.

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.

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.

Leaders of large organizations cannot meet regularly with every employee to reinforce important points. So a CEO needs to take creative steps to communicate to a far-flung workforce. At Chipotle, the burrito chain, founder and co-CEO Steve Ells sends messages through multiple channels.
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