Google’s Larry Page is the highest rated chief executive officer in the United States, as voted by his own employees. It’s no surprise that other big names, such as Tim Cook (Apple) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are on the list, but what really makes a CEO effective, admirable and likeable at the same time?
While you could choose to be a tyrant CEO, literally intimidating your employees into performing their jobs, you would probably prefer a style that is both productive and that earns your people’s respect. How do you do that? Who would you emulate in order to be both effective and admired, if not adored, in your company?
One of the world’s most successful CEOs, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, is not mentioned anywhere on Forbes’s list. Is that because his people think he is a tyrant? Would you choose that route if it meant being as successful as he? What makes him so unstoppable?
As a CEO, the choices you make about your own style could mean the difference between rising to the top or crashing shamefully to the bottom.
Here is a list of some of the most influential company leaders in America, along with the predominant leadership traits that you’d be wise to adopt:
Bill Gates and Vision
Although Mr. Gates is retired from Microsoft, he is definitely a leader to learn from in many ways. After all, he built one of the most successful companies in history with an always steady hand and a tireless passion.
Despite his astronomical success, Mr. Gates has always credited the people around him and believes hiring quality people was the key to his success.
Bill Gates also always had a vision and that is a vital component of any company’s ability to survive. Whether it is a vision for your company in one or five years or a vision for a product, vision is one of the most essential and elemental building blocks of future performance as well as endurance.
Mark Zuckerberg and Inspiration
Mark Zuckerberg epitomizes the new breed of CEO in every way: Young (still looks all of 15 years old), involved, casual, socially active and very much willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. Although some criticize the ruthless way in which the company was founded, none can argue the fact that he has earned his stripes as chief navigator, forging the world’s most preeminent social and advertising platform.
Zuck, as those who admire him often refer to him, has a unique style in the business world, but his leadership is highly effective in the Facebook ecosystem, primarily because it is so intensely focused on the end product.
Zuck builds teams, gives them priorities, and empowers them with the freedom to create solutions. He has a natural ability to inspire his people, meaning people that want to work for him and with him in creating an exceptional experience for the Facebook customer.
Elon Musk and Imagination
If you are going to dream, dream big. If that is your philosophy, Elon Musk is the CEO for you to study. He is the sometimes controversial CEO of Tesla and one of the original co-founders of PayPal. His ability to dream big usually gets people laughing at first. However, years later, after a lot of hard work, the dream is an ingenious reality, and all those who once laughed stand in awe of his accomplishments.
Albert Einstein used to say that imagination is more important than knowledge, and this philosophy has certainly paid off for Musk. Those around him say he sets excruciatingly high standards and is well known for being driven.
Dreaming big may also have a big payoff for humanity, as well, with Musk’s super-economized rocket systems purportedly being ready to take tourists into space sometime in the not-so-distant future.
The company, SpaceX, is also leading the way in other areas of aerospace engineering, opening more doors to the future and encouraging others to dream big as well.
Jeff Bezos and Priorities
There are definitely more than a few industry insiders, as well as past and present employers, who would call Amazon’s CEO an outright tyrant However, that certainly does not mean that you couldn’t learn a thing or two from his leadership style.
Jeff Bezos was the valedictorian of his high school class and a fiercely competitive leader at Princeton. He realized early on the advantages of mastering technology and had the ingenious idea that selling online meant avoiding taxes.
He was right, but he has had to fight for it and still faces battles with some states who refuse to see things his way. One of the most brilliant aspects of Bezos’ leadership style is the way he prioritizes. Once he sets a priority, nothing gets in the way of it.
If you cannot set the tough priorities as a CEO and see that your people make them happen, your company cannot be competitive.
No matter which CEO you would prefer to be like or actually have anything in common with, each of them has at least one valuable trait you can strive to mimic. In doing so, particularly if you take the best traits from the best CEOs, there will be no stopping you, either.
Which CEO Styles Work Best For You?
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Bloomberg/2015-06-10: The Top 25 Highest Rated CEOs In America As Judged By Their Employees