Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in Warren, Mich., on March 4, 2016.  Photograph by Carlos Barria — Reuters

Two Models For Leadership

Mar 09, 2016

Donald Trump scored impressive victories in Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii yesterday, turning out record numbers of primary voters, and topping the day with an extraordinary press conference denouncing his detractors in the press and the party, defending his business success, and touting at least nine different Trump-branded properties and products in the process. Bernie Sanders delivered a painful, but not fatal, blow to Hillary Clinton by winning the Michigan primary.

Meanwhile, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC news poll shows the ugly primary campaigns have taken a toll on all the candidates. Two-thirds of registered voters say they couldn't see themselves supporting Trump in November; 56% say they couldn't cast a ballot for Clinton. Indeed, majorities say they couldn't support five of the remaining six contenders, with Kasich being the only exception. Is "none of the above" an option?

In sharp contrast, FORTUNE last night hosted three CEOs whose companies made the top ten of our 100 Best Companies to Work For list, and who all demonstrated low-key, humble, employee-centric, non-Trump-like leadership styles: Danny Wegman of Wegmans Food Markets (#4 on our list); Jim Goodnight of SAS (#8) and Jim Weddle of Edward Jones (#10).

Here are my three takeaways from their comments on how to create a great workplace culture:

Show you care. "If you treat people like they make a difference, they will make a difference," says Goodnight.

Perks and pay matter. SAS was a model for Google's (#1) perk paradise. Wegman provides scholarships to many of its high school employees. Edward Jones distributes half its operating income to employees through bonuses and profit sharing.

It helps not to have shareholders. All three companies, and a majority on our list, are not publicly held companies.

I'm on my way to San Francisco for tonight's Brainstorm Tech dinner with Steve Ballmer. Today's recommended reading: Michal Lev-Ram's piece on the fast-growing big data company Palantir.

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