The following CEOs helm companies from FORBES America’s Best Small Companies list, 2013. Here’s what they have to say about leadership.
Don Bailey, CEO, Questcor Pharmaceuticals
“There are three roles of leadership: lead, follow and (or not) get out of the way, and the key is to know when and how to do each.”
Jim Koch, Founder Of Boston Beer Co.
“In the middle of graduate school, I decided to take a break and became an instructor with Outward Bound. At the beginning of each four-week course I gave everyone a supply of Alpine cord (a kind of string for lashing gear, pitching tarps, etc.) Consistently, if I gave my group plenty of string, they would run out and need more. But, if I gave them less and told them they had only two-thirds of what they really needed, they would get incredibly creative and make that cord last.”
Brian Mueller, CEO, Grand Canyon Education Inc.
“Don’t be afraid to be bold and don’t be afraid to take on the status quo. Make your plans big and then, in the middle of that, make sure everybody wins. There has to be balance.”
Michael Fifer, CEO, Sturm-Ruger
“We use a team effort to set all of our major goals and priorities. Everyone is expected to speak up, make recommendations, and thenexplain and defend them. The best ideas get adopted and working into our plans going forward.”
Brad Cleveland, CEO, Proto Labs
“True leadership comes from working with an exceptional team that you can fully trust to do their jobs as long as they have a clear understanding of priorities. So the job of the CEO is to be an example of honesty, thoughtfulness and trust, which everyone appreciates in their roles.”
Harry Herington, CEO, NIC
“I have three children and have told them time and again to follow their passion – not the dollar. I don’t dwell on what issues might keep me awake at night – I am setting goals according to what motivates me to get up in the morning. Focus on what you are passionate about.”
Jason Rhode, CEO, Cirrus
“Every single interaction you have with another person leaves that person a little more energized, or a little less. That’s true for all of us, but the further up the leadership ladder you are, the greater the leverage you have becomes. Employees notice every single thing you do. Be very mindful of the messages you’re sending.”
Arkadiy Dobkin, CEO, EPAM Systems
“If I want to expect from people an ‘extra mile,’ people should trust that I would be ready to walk that ‘extra mile’ myself too. Such trust is built up over the years, and that specific trust is very easy to lose.”
Bryan Shinn, CEO, Silica Holdings
“You have to create a zone where you can push everything else aside and clear your mind. You’re not only serving yourself from a mental health point of view; you’re also serving the business. I’ve had some of my best ideas away from the office so I try to plan that down-time into my schedule.”
Cheri Beranek, CEO, Clearfield, Inc.
“There has to be a balance between near and far-term goals. Too often, public companies get tied up in meeting financial projections on quarter to quarter basis, which results in very short-term decisions that don’t allow long-term growth.”
Behrooz Abdi, CEO, InvenSense
“By understanding the fundamental contribution of each goal to the big picture, it’s easy to see the relevance of each one and prioritize them accordingly. It’s also important to realize goals are only relevant for a period of time and should be flexible to re-prioritize.”
John Foraker, CEO, Annie’s
“Be authentic, real, and honest. Hire the right people ahead of your current need, so that the business has the foundation, experience, and depth to grow fast and really scale in performance and impact.”
Kevin Thompson, CEO, SolarWinds
“Managers need to understand that people change, as do their interests and goals. The problem is that most feel that change will come when the employee grows out of their position and moves on to another company. But managers who take the time to listen to employees can focus on cultivating those employees’ sweet spots, making it easier to retain them.”
Steve Fredrickson, CEO, Portfolio Recovery Associates
“Great leaders articulate a goal, set a consistent, visible example, create a discernible culture, and then get out of the way, permitting great team members to do their thing. Great leaders are also the Chief Optimism Officer for the company, helping employees believe that anything can be achieved through hard work and determination.”
Rob Lynch, CEO, Lumber Liquidators
“The more that everyone buys in and aligns around a common goal and vision, the better the company performs. Creating an inclusive team- based culture is best. I hate when someone describes me as the boss or in charge. I describe myself internally as a partner and team member.”
Attributed by Forbes [Read Full Article]