Do you hope to one day join the ranks of the nation's top executives? One way to pursue this goal may be to learn from business leaders who currently run major companies, like Google, Starbucks and Facebook.
There's no denying that graduate programs, such as those that offer the Master of Business Administration, may help prepare you for some of the challenges that await you in the business sector. But you should also consider the lessons you can find outside of the classroom, which can provide you with supplemental knowledge you may not receive in graduate school.
So where should you start? How about career website Glassdoor's 2014 list of the highest rated CEOs[i]? The business leaders who landed in the top 50 received high marks from their employees, so it doesn't hurt to learn what these leaders are doing so well.
For some disgruntled workers, Glassdoor might be an outlet to complain about an employer anonymously. So when workers head to the website to heap praise on their bosses, it really says something about their performance.
Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn's CEO ended up receiving a 100 percent approval rating. He may not be a household name, but Weiner's clearly doing something right to receive the only perfect score on the list. According to CBS MoneyWatch, the former Yahoo executive is known for creating a culture of complete transparency, which is something many workers want to know exists in the workplace[ii].
In 2013, Weiner, a graduate of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, about his views on leadership.
"I draw a very clear distinction between leadership and management," Weiner said. "When I was younger, I didn't understand the difference. For me, leadership is the ability to inspire others to achieve shared objectives. For me, that's the entire difference between leaders and managers. Managers tell people what to do. Leaders inspire them to do it[iii}."
With a 97 percent approval rating, Ford's Alan R. Mulally landed in second place. CBS MoneyWatch reported that the CEO has a reputation for breaking down barriers between groups, while Forbes stated that employees consider him to be accessible, thanks to the ways he uses email and company newsletters[iv].
In one Glassdoor review, an individual currently working as a software engineer for Ford wrote that Mulally is "an inspirational leader," followed by "Alan Mulally - need I say more?[v]"
A 97 percent approval rating from Edelman employees helped CEO Richard W. Edelman nab third place on Glassdoor's list. According to Forbes, Edelman does something many workers can get behind - offer plenty of opportunities for growth and advancement. With this type of flexibility, employees often have the ability to explore new areas of work within the PR organization and even transfer offices[iv].
The qualities these three men possess clearly set them apart from their fellow CEOs, but these are not the only traits of strong leaders. For example, Inc. magazine states that highly effective leaders are those that are optimistic, confident, decisive and possess integrity[vi].
Of course, every employee has his or her own opinion of what makes a good leader. Robert Hohman, chief executive of Glassdoor, offers his own take. Hohman told CBS MoneyWatch[ii]
"Employees would tell you the No. 1 factor in choosing a place to work is where the culture is defined, how well communication flows and how much value is placed in transparency."
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what type of leader you want to become. Business school, as well as the educators and classmates you encounter in your graduate programs may be able to help you on the road to climbing the corporate ladder.
[i] glassdoor.com/50-Highest-Rated-CEOs-LST_KQ0,21.htm | [ii] cbsnews.com/news/whos-americas-no-1-ceo-hes-not-a-household-name/ | [iii] knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/linkedin-ceo-jeff-weiner-managing-sky-rocketing-growth-long-term/ | [iv] forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/03/21/americas-favorite-bosses/ | [v] glassdoor.com/Reviews/Ford-Motor-Reviews-E263.htm | [vi] inc.com/peter-economy/7-traits-highly-effective-leaders.html