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).
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...