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10 Epic Lessons From 10 Amazing Bosses


Being a great leader is easier said than done. That’s why sometimes a little inspiration is necessary. Here are 10 different examples of fantastic leaders who are all great in their own way:

Brian Krzanich (Intel)Brian Krzanich (Intel) – Practice what you preach

Brian Krzanich is the CEO of Intel, and he made headlines for all the right reasons when he took big steps to diversify Intel’s employees with the implementation of a five-year plan. His reasoning?

“It’s not just good enough to say we value diversity, and then have our workplaces and our industry not reflect the full available and talent pool of women and underrepresented minorities.”

Six months in, the company looked at whether the plan was working. And, guess what, it was! Whether it’s diversity or something else that you really value at your company, good leaders don’t just talk the talk.

Calvin McDonald (Sears)Calvin McDonald (Sears) — Remember what made your brand in the first place

Calvin McDonald is currently the CEO of Sephora, but before that he worked for Sears — the same store he worked for with his very first job, which was delivering their catalogue when he was a kid. Sears was going down what looked like a dark path until McDonald came on board and steered them back to the basics that had made the department store successful in the first place, like an emphasis on quality and great customer service in-store.

It’s all too easy to forget what made your company stand out in the first place. If you get stuck, go back to that point and think if you’re still being true to those basic values and principles.

Eugene Kranz (NASA)Eugene Kranz (NASA) – Keep a cool head no matter what

It really was a life or death situation for Eugene Kranz — he was Apollo 13’s flight director. You know, that spaceship that exploded and it looked like everybody was going to die.

While my response probably would have been to break down in tears directly, Kranz said:

“Let’s everybody keep cool. Let’s solve the problem, but let’s not make it any worse by guessing.”

And he did! The crew was saved and made it back down to Earth safely. Kranz’s calm approach made it easier for his team to find a solution rather than panicking.

Jim Lentz (Toyota North America)Jim Lentz (Toyota North America) – Be open and honest

Toyota’s CEO Jim Lentz raised some eyebrows when in response to an announcement that the company would be recalling millions of cars for faulty breaks. He hosted a live conversation on social news website Digg answered as many questions as he could; ranging from simple ones to really tricky ones.

Even though it wasn’t a great situation for the car manufacturer, being transparent and open was a good approach to dealing with it and moving forward.

Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn)

Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn) – help your employees thrive (sensibly)

Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn, so maybe it’s not so surprising that his real passion is helping people thrive at the workplace. He gets his inspirations for management from all sorts of places, like the Dalai Lama, his third grade teacher who talked about civil rights, and a founder of a management consultancy firm.

Still, part of his philosophy is also realising when people aren’t able to do their jobs anymore. He is compassionate but also sensible about the business. A partner at a venture capital firm says, “Part of the why he’s such a good leader is that he doesn’t surprise people.”


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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