America's 10 Favorite Bosses

Glassdoor recently took a survey of employees of some of the most popular companies, asking workers what they thought of the way their bosses were running the company. Glassdoor then broke down the data and ranked the head honchos based on the answers, in hopes of helping potential employees get a better picture of companies and their bosses. What resulted is an interesting look at why these business leaders have such great standing with their employees.

1. Ken Powell, CEO of General Mills

Ken Powell has worked for General Mills since 1979, but has been the CEO of the food company since 2007. Running a food company during a recession can be a tall order, and General Mills revenues continued to climb nonetheless. Their legendary products (Wheaties, Hamburger Helper, Cheerios) might seem a hard sell considering there are plenty of off-brands that could be purchased instead, but General Mills continued to expand its marketing budget and started innovating with online ads before their competitors. The result: major growth and revenues in 2009, at a time when companies were struggling to keep their doors open. In 2009, Powell received a 100% approval rating from his workers, a testament that his leadership style is one of the best of the Fortune 500 companies.

2. John Hennessy, Stanford President

People don't often think of university presidents as "bosses," but Stanford's President John Hennessy is one of the best. Dr. Hennessy became president of Stanford in 2000, but has been a faculty member since 1977. He was one of the pioneers in computer architecture, and in 1981 he contributed to the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) architecture, a technology that greatly improved computer performance. It's safe to say that Hennessy is an entrepreneur. John Hennessy's entrepreneurial streak has been what has helped Stanford become one of the most innovative universities. Stanford is one of the top three wealthiest schools in the US, and last year announced that it would start forging more ties with local tech companies, many of which sprang from the halls of Stanford. Dr. Hennessy received a 98% approval rating from his employees at Stanford, saying that Stanford was an "overall great place to work."

3. Steve Jobs, Apple CEO

Steve Jobs has become one of the most iconic bosses of all time. His keynote speeches at the annual MacWorld Expos keep the tech industry on the edge of their seat, and Apple's revenues continue to grow at blistering speeds. In January the company posted it's highest fiscal first quarter ever, with their net income up 50%. It's no surprise then that the man leading Apple's charge has become one of the most popular and well-liked bosses. As Jobs' popularity and Apple's profits continue to soar, Apple employees will continue to rate the CEO highly. Employees at Apple gave Jobs an approval rating of 97%, with 517 votes.

4. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO

Love him or hate him, Lloyd Blankfein is popular with his employees. Even though he made our list of dumbest business mistakes of 2009, his employees who voted at Glassdoor gave him a 97% approval rating. Blankfein has been under intense scrutiny, with Goldman Sachs receiving federal aid in 2008 and then giving out $16 billion in bonuses. While this may have enraged the general public, it certainly made Goldman Sachs employees happy. Employees described BLankfein's leadership as "intense," but overall they were very happy with the performance of the company under his lead.

5. Eric Schmidt, Google CEO

Google is another tech company that has posted massive growth year after year. Many attribute this to the excellent leadership of CEO Eric Schmidt. Schmidt joined the Google board of directors in March of 2001, and quickly became the company's CEO five months later. Schmidt has helped raise revenues quarter after quarter, with sales last quarter jumping 23 percent from the previous year. Google has grown to handle over two-thirds of all search queries in the US, and continues to add innovative products and services to the company year after year. Schmidt was even named PC World's #1 on the 50 Most Important People on the Web in 2007. With all the growth and accolades, it's no surprise that Google is one of the most sought-after tech companies to work for. As Google continues to show strong growth and great leadership, Google employees will continue to be happy with their CEO.

6. James Truchard, National Instruments CEO

James Truchard is the co-founder of National Instruments. While National Instruments may not be the sexiest company around, it's definitely one of the best companies for employees. The company has been on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For eleven consecutive years and counting. CEO James Truchard is directly responsible the accolades. James' employees refer to him as "Dr. T," and is one of the most accessible CEOs of a fortune 500 company. He drives an old pickup truck to work, wears jeans, and sits in a cubicle on the 8th floor, where employees are encouraged to discuss any issues they might have with the company. "Dr. T's" accessible leadership style has won the hearts of his employees, giving him an approval rating of 96%.

7. Edward Zore, Northwestern Mutual CEO

Edward Zore has been Northwestern Mutual's CEO since 2001, but he's been working for the company since 1969. In 2008 Zore made the list of 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics due to his strong stance on ethics in banking. When most financial institutions were caught with their pants down in the subprime markets, Zore insured that Northwestern Mutual had less than 0.5% of their assets exposed to subprime loans. Under Zore's leadership, the company has brought in award after award on social responsibility and quality. His employees gave the company a 96% approval rating because of the strong human element that Zore and the rest of the company have embraced.

8. Richard Edelman, CEO Edelman

Richard Edelman has helped the company his father started become the largest public relations firm in existence. Richard Edelman is a thought leader on PR, and has produced regular reports on the state of trust with corporations. Edelman has worked with high-profile clients like Walmart, Starbucks, and many others. Richard Edelman is known for his outspoken critiques on the PR industry and industries that have PR problems. Yet his company ranks as one of the best by employees. They gave Edelman a 95% approval rating, giving Richard Edelman high marks for being a visionary and a great educator.

9. Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines CEO

Southwest is known for its innovative approach to customer service, and also for the care of their employees. The man in charge for the excellent corporate culture is Gary Kelly. Gary Kelly joined the airline company in 1986, and was eventually named the CEO by 2008. Since then Kelly has been named one of the best CEOs in America twice (2008, 2009) by Investor magazine. The company has a slew of recognition and awards like "100 Best Corporate Citizens" for eight years in a row, and the leader in American Customer Satisfaction Index in both 2005 and 2008. Kelly scored a 94% approval rating for the care of his employees.

10. Matt Ferguson, Career Builder CEO has grown into the largest online job site, and has held that title since 2001. CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson has used many innovative strategies to grow the company, and the dividends are paying off. Under Ferguson, has built impressive customer service and expansive marketing campaigns to bring in high amounts of traffic and revenue. In 2004 Ferguson was named one of the Crain's Chicago Business 40 Under 40. Ferguson received a 94% approval rating thanks to his innovative vision for the company and his employees.

This is a guest post by Glen Stansberry, co-founder of Howdy, a way for small business sites to improve site conversions.

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Guest's picture

Wow a 100% approval rating, I can't even imagine that! This was a really interesting post, I can't believe a college president made the list. I know that I always had some sort of problem with my college and the president never seemed to be of help--or even on campus at all!

Guest's picture

"Running a food company during a recession can be a tall order..."

Wouldn't running a *food* company in a recession be one of the easier tasks, seeing as people *must* have food?

Guest's picture

Interesting to note... not one woman in the bunch. Too bad.

Guest's picture

Steve Jobs is the man. wonder what its like working for him?