Profiles in Leadership

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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.
Conrad Hilton converted a fleabag into a hotel empire. Hiltons were the first hotels to put ­air-conditioning, TVs, ironing boards and sewing kits in their rooms. Modern hotel-reservation systems evolved from Hil­­ton’s 1948 prototype. "Successful men keep moving," he said. "They don’t stop to think about the next move."
Peter Diamandis has built his entrepreneurial career around gathering creative people and letting them loose to chase lofty goals. The 51-year-old founded the X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit that runs competitions to identify the most ambitious ideas and technologies to help humanity.
As president and chief executive of Tangerine—formerly ING Direct Canada—Peter Aceto could act like most big bank CEOs and cultivate an image of aloofness and power. But he does the reverse.
Some entrepreneurs love to launch businesses, but they lack interest in managing growing enterprises. Tom Gegax made the successful transition from startup bootstrapper to business builder.
Even though Atul Gawande is at the top of his profession—he’s a leading surgeon, journalist and winner of a MacArthur “genius” grant—he knows he’s capable of improving his professional performance. That’s why he hired a coach.
Leaders cannot talk their way out of a deteriorating business. To reverse course, take bold steps. Bob Flexon became Dynegy’s CEO in July 2011; four months later, the energy company filed for bankruptcy. To boost morale, Flexon unveiled a series of dramatic changes.
Ivar Kroghrud sees himself as “chief ironing officer.” In his 13 years as CEO of QuestBack, he spent much of his time ironing out employees’ problems. He’s now lead strategist at the Oslo, Norway-based firm, which provides feedback management tools.
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