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Profiles in Leadership

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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.

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.

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