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Profiles in Leadership

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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.

By publicly scolding an employee, you may feel like you’ve sent a loud-and-clear message. But it comes at a risk: A solid contributor might quit. Joel Manby offers a case in point.

Rob Eberle, president and chief executive of Bottomline Technologies, cites three things as his primary roles as CEO: bring in new talent, help his people get better each year and listen to them. "The technology today won’t be the technology tomorrow," he says. "It’s the people that matter most."

Marilyn Tam, who grew up abused and neglected, has overcome steep odds to succeed. She became chief executive of Aveda Corp. after serving as president of Reebok Apparel and Retail Group and a vice president at Nike. She specializes in helping people achieve what she calls “dynamic balance” to attain happiness and find meaning in life and work.

GE chairman and chief executive Jeffrey Immelt is famously at ease. Occasionally, he simply issues an order. When done in moderation, Immelt says, leadership by fiat can drive change.

A time machine interview with the resourceful and fearless Clara Barton, who was the first female clerk at the U.S. Patent Office. She ultimately founded the American Red Cross, serving as its first president.
When The Wall Street Journal interviewed Denise Morrison in 2007, she was president of Campbell USA. Senior executives usually downplay their ambitions, but Morrison boldly told the re­­porter that she wanted to become CEO of a large corporation. In 2011, she be­came Campbell's CEO.
"Great leadership is not a solo act," says Robert Vanourek, chairman emeritus of the Vail Leadership Institute and co-author of Triple Crown Leadership. "It's a group performance. You need to connect through the heart to lead effectively." 
When Jeffrey Ashby, a former NASA space shuttle commander, learned in 2002 that he would lead a mission to the International Space Station, NASA had already picked his crew. To bond as a team, Ashby asked the crew to join him in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park for an 11-day trek, which paid off when they went into space.
Aaron Jagdfeld runs a fast-growing company with $1 billion in annual ­revenue. He’s president and CEO of ­Generac Holdings, a maker of automatic standby generators based in Waukesha, Wis. Jagdfeld joined Generac in 1994 and became its chief executive in 2008, starting with a blank slate to shape the company's culture.
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