By and About Leaders: 1/26/16

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I think that one of the best ways to learn leadership isn’t studying “leadership” at all. Instead, study individual leaders in their natural habitat and decide what they do that you want to try. Articles by and about leaders and interviews with them are mini-case studies that show you an actual leader in a real situation.

That’s why, every week, I bring you a selection of post about individual leaders. This week I’m pointing you to pieces by and about Bob Coughlin, Brian Cornell, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, Gary Kelly, and Amit Singh.

From Bowdeya Tweh: CEO stays at and grows firm he created in 1990, breaking startup mold

“Bob Coughlin makes no apologies for describing himself as a lifelong learner. Coughlin, 54, is still the CEO of the startup he founded in 1990. Since that time, the privately held firm has transitioned from a local payroll processor to a software-as-a-service company that employs more than 1,100 people and serves 30,000 customers around the country.”

From Nick Halter: Target CEO Brian Cornell will visit shoppers at home

“Target CEO Brian Cornell’s quest to understand shoppers takes him inside customers’ homes, looking in their cupboards and closets.”

From Melissa Wylie: Bizwomen Interview: Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, CEO of Earth Friendly Products

“Not many CEOs find themselves taking the top position in the wake of personal tragedy. And not many could continue building a family legacy despite overwhelming grief.”

From J.P. Donlon: How Culture Creates Competitive Advantage

“The most astonishing factoid about Southwest is that it has not had a single layoff in its 44 years—a stunning accomplishment in an industry that leads the economy in bankruptcies, re-organizations, mergers and companies that have disappeared. Think Eastern and Pan Am.”

From Adam Bryant: Amit Singh of Google for Work: A Respectful Clash of Ideas

“I learned the hard way about the importance of coaching people rather than jumping in and doing the work for them. A lot of folks have a tough time with that balance, and I did, too. Instead of giving people advice or coaching them on how to present something, I would go and do it for them or write their presentation.”

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