Profiles in Leadership

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Employees need to trust you as their leader if they’re going to outperform as a team. They must believe you’ll put their interests ahead of your own. But how do you communicate you'll do just that? The director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, provides an example.

Wayne Goldberg knows the hotel business. He's president and CEO of La Quinta Holdings, a Texas-based chain with roughly 7,000 employees. "I make it clear when speaking to our hourly employees that I’ve been an hourly employee," he says. "I’ve been a maintenance person, I’ve worked in the laundry. There isn’t a job I haven’t done."

In 1962, editors at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists judged that the world was perilously close to a nuclear holocaust. It was at this moment that physicist Freeman Dyson, a visionary in math to medicine, weighed in on bomb shelters ...
Once a year, Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo, invites his senior executives to his palatial home in a ritzy section of Beijing for a mix of lighthearted fun and dead-serious business. What happens at the place one of his employees calls “a mini-Versailles"?
When Glenn Murphy left a Canadian drugstore chain in 2007 to become CEO of Gap, the clothing retailer had sustained a multiyear losing streak. But it’s finally bouncing back.
After graduating college, Mark Cuban got a job at Mellon Bank. His youthful energy led him to think like an entrepreneur—and that landed him in trouble with higher-ups ...
Throughout his years in the financial services industry, Graham Coxell of brokerage firm Rowan Dartington has witnessed good and bad leadership. His conclusion? It’s better to seek to understand others than berate them.

In November 1942, Col. Curtis LeMay delivered a briefing to his World War II bomber pilots. He told them they would fly directly toward the target, maximizing the risk of German anti-aircraft fire. LeMay revealed that he would fly the lead bomber, and his willingness to make himself a focal point for enemy fire inspired the squadron.

What behaviors make great ­leaders? "Integrity is so essential. People will only follow someone who has integrity," says Al Bolea, who has enjoyed an exciting career in the oil and gas industry. Today, Bolea runs Applied ­Leadership Seminars in Big Lake, Alaska.
Frank Lloyd Wright did not endear himself to his team. In the half-century since his death, many experts have reflected on his inability to lead. The lesson? As you gain authority, work harder than ever to support others’ success.
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