Leadership styles and professional images are changing from the once unapproachable, egocentric executives to leaders who have humility and present a servant style leadership. Are these changes earnest or an attempt to modify negative perceptions of leaders engaging in corporate scandals and unethical behavior? Scholastic researchers identified positive shifting of paradigms towards expected characteristics and behavior. The identified changes include better codes of ethics, recognizing social capital, and evoking empowering leadership at all levels (Francis, Huang, Rajgopal, & Zang, 2008; García-Sánchez, Rodríguez-Domínguez, & Gallego-Álvarez, 2013; Makri & Scandura, 2010; Ou, Tsui, Kinicki, Waldman, Zhixing, & Jiwen Song, 2014; Peterson, Galvin, & Lange, 2012; Zona, Minoja, & Coda, 2013).Order now
Previous generations experienced leaders to portrayed narcissistic behaviors and people expected egotistical, manipulative, and exploitive mannerisms; today’s the same culture expects transformational leadership, leader-member exchanges, and sensitivity towards job performance and satisfaction (Peterson et al., 2012). These expectations require leaders to emphasize human capital and profit with equal importance, and humility in leaders no longer reflects low self-esteem but reflects positively with empowering leadership (Ou et al., 2014). The purpose of this paper is to analyze if the changing leader’s previous egocentric mannerisms to a more humble and servant leading style is earnest or a false projection of expectations. To accomplish this analysis, the paper will begin with an introduction of three currently recognized Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), define overarching leadership attributes and expected qualities, and conclude with a reflection of the qualities on the selected CEOs. The first question for analysis was, where does one begin to identify CEOs who are recognized by their peers?
The journey begun with Forbes Fortune 500 list, then realized these rankings reflect the company’s overall performance and not a ranking of the characteristics of the respective CEOs. Similar enlightenment arose after reviewing Yahoo Finance pages for company’s rankings. Research led to an article in the Washington Business Journal (2013) by a staff writer on the most admired CEO awards 2013. Continuing this path, another article posted by CNNMoney covered nine specific CEOs and who they admired. This article selected nine CEOs from the Most Admired Top 50 CEOs in no apparent selection process and started with the number 20 ranked CEO, John chambers – CEO Cisco, then to number 29 ranked Ken Chenault – CEO American Express, and then ended with Jim Sinegal – CEO Costco who ranked 21 of 50 (CNNMoney, 2010). The highest ranked CEO in the article was Bob McDonald – CEO Procter & Gamble, who ranked 6 of 50; IBM received his admiration and did not reflect another CEO he admired (CNNMoney, 2010). Eventually, a CBSNews article identifying LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner as the number 1 ranked CEO (Cochran, 2014).
Glassdoor.com as an online jobs and career community for recruiting top talent, provide company reviews, and CEO reviews for over 6 million company profiles contained in their worldwide database (Glassdoor.com, 2014). Acknowledging this site is not a peer reviewed scholastic source, Glassdoor provides a ranking of CEOs based on employee perception of their executive’s performance for companies with over 1000 employees (Smith, 2014). For the purpose of this paper, the ranking of a CEOs characteristics, behaviors, and abilities determined by employees provides a viable source for all three identified CEOs keeping a core selection criteria based on employee perceptions of the CEOs.
Leaders Recognized by Employees
Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn ranked as the top rated CEO by employees (Glassdoor.com, 2014). Additionally, LinkedIn is ranked 1736 on Forbes Global 2000 companies ranked 3rd on Forbes 50 Best Places to Work (Forbes.com, 2014) (CNNMoney, 2014). Bloomberg Businessweek (2014) reported Weiner, age 43, received a total calculated compensation for the 2012 Fiscal Year of $1,175,400 after appointment to his position in 2009. According to Weiner’s Bloomberg (2014) profile he held appointments to Executive in Residence at Greylock Partners and Accel Management Co, Inc; Executive Vice President of Network Division of Yahoo! Inc. and Senior Vice President of Search and Marketplace; co-founded Windsor Digital; Vice President of Warner Bros. Online; Strategic Planning Analyst at Braxton Associates, the strategic management consulting division of Deloitte and Touche; and Director of Intuit Inc. Weiner holds a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania (Bloomberg, 2014).
Howard D. Schultz, CEO Starbucks ranked as the 9th CEO (Glassdoor.com, 2014). Additionally, Fortune ranked Starbucks 208 on Forbes 500, ranked 605 Forbes Global 2000 companies and ranked 39th on Fortunes 50 best companies to work for (Forbes.com, 2014). Bloomberg Businessweek (2014) reported Benioff, age 60, received a total calculated compensation for the 2013 Fiscal Year of $17,242,507 after appointment to his position in 2008. Benioff’s Bloomberg (2014) profile reflects an employment history as Co-Founder and Partner of Maveron LLC; Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board of IL Giornale Coffee Company; he established The Basketball Club of Seattle, LLC.; Chairman of NeuroMetrix Inc.; Board Director of Pinkberry, Inc.; Director of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.; Director of Groupon, Inc.; Director of eBay Inc.; Director of Drugstore.com Inc. Schultz holds BS from Northern Michigan University (Bloomberg, 2014).
Marc Benioff, CEO Salesforce.com ranked as the 13th CEO (Glassdoor.com, 2014). Additionally, Forbes (2014) ranked Salesforce.com as number 465 for top 500 paid CEOs. Salesforce.com is ranked number 1654 Forbes Global 2000 companies and 50th on Forbes 50 Best Places to Work (Forbes.com, 2014) and ranked 7th on Fortunes 100 Best Companies to Work For (CNNMoney, 2014). Bloomberg Businessweek (2014) reported Benioff, age 48, received a total calculated compensation for the 2013 Fiscal Year of $ 22,100,904 after appointment to his position in 2001. Benioff’s Bloomberg (2014) profile reflects an employment history with Keas Inc. as the General Advisor; Senior Vice President for Oracle Corporation; Member of Executive Council at TechNet; Director of DW Data, Inc.; Director of Cloudwords, Inc.; Member the Board of Directors at GrandCentral Communications, Inc.; and Co-Chairman of President of the United States’ Information Technology Advisory Committee. Benioff holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from University of Southern California (Bloomberg, 2014).
CEO Ranking Company Employees Market Cap Enterprise Value CEO Exercised Options Pay
1 LinkedIn 5,024 $19.98B $17.65B $74.49M $1.18M
9 Starbucks 182,000 $51.95B $52.30B $127.82M $3.96M
13 Salesforce.com 13,300 $32.26B $33.93B $106.31M $3.24M
Table 1 – Corporate Rankings (Yahoo Finance, 2014)
Researching the statement that leadership appears to begin setting aside the personal need for immediate ego gratification and leaders now find fulfillment in the accomplishments of those on the team identified there is a negative relationship between the CEO narcissism and servant leadership (Ou et al., 2014; Peterson et al., 2012). Egotistical leaders will remain in the corporate structure; however, there is a strong shifting of behaviors and characteristics that will force the egocentric leaders to change or retire.
The support is found in strategic management and upper echelon theories that require CEOs to change focus towards effective firm-level outcomes driving philosophical influences on strategic direction and performance (Peterson et al., 2012). Stewardship and economic theories aligns the CEOs reputation and earnings quality through encouraging duality with cohesive leadership and reduces engaging in opportunistic behaviors as the intellectually motivated leaders focus on self-sacrifice, justice, and humanistic notions (Francis et al., 2008; García-Sánchez et al., 2013). Finally, the systems and social information processing theories provides the foundation for influencing attitudes, behaviors, balance, and maintenance as the corporate structure reflects a system thinking approach for critical understanding and managing relationships (Larson, Latham, Appleby, & Harshman, 2012; Manner, 2010; Ou et al., 2014).
The application of the strategic management, upper echelon, stewardship, economic, systems, and social information processing theories together creates a cognition towards the recommended attributes associated to servant leadership and emphasize personal integrity, supporting needs of followers, and following a strong moral compass (Francis et al., 2008; García-Sánchez et al., 2013; Larson et al., 2012; Manner, 2010; Ou et al., 2014; Peterson et al., 2012). Leaders who focus on behaviors that empower and help subordinates, offer emotional support, and support the community gravitate away from self-focus, self-glorification, self-promotion, and self-admiration (Peterson et al., 2012). The shifting of the leadership paradigm moves towards leaders engaging in servant leadership.
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