The top business leaders are reasonably better known among their peer group, senior management and C-Suite assistants. But for the vast majority of those working at any firm, they represent the elite, so are not well known in actual person, but as imaginary constructs. Employees form a vision of their company heads on the basis of emails, tweets, videos or speeches they got access to. Four rules have been identified which dictate how people form mental images of corporate leaders. As a first rule, employees prefer skimpy data about their leaders and do not want to delve into deep insights about their bosses. The employee expects simplistic answers to his/her questions such as whether their leaders care for them, whether they have high standards or are they visionary. People also look to answers in the form of stories rather than authentic first hand reports. Even when they hear stories they have a natural filter for what is credible news and what isn’t such a source. Stories about Haier CEO Zhang Ruimin’s adherence to the highest quality standards, or Bill Gates’s caring nature became legends after passed down as anecdotes. Leaders can leverage such stories as a key part of their own personal building and for this they need key surrogates who are usually accidentally formed. Terms such as caring or humanness have repeatedly emerged for top leaders as have an unflinching belief towards standards. Similarly some are perceived to be visionary, that is an essential to forging corporate strategy.



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