What Is Leadership? Defining Leadership Qualities Through the Fortune 500

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Defining Leadership through the Fortune 500

Leadership is a difficult term to define. In literal definition, it means “the action of leading a group of people or an organization”. However, that is a very prosaic definition. What qualities make up “the action of leading a group of people or an organization”? One way to find out is to observe the qualities possessed by leaders themselves. The Fortune 500 is an annual ranking of America’s largest corporations. At the very head of each one of these 500 corporations is a single individual called a Chief Executive Officer, or CEO. The CEO is in charge of all of the main responsibilities of the corporation. So it is no doubt that CEO’s are leaders; the CEO’s of the Fortune 500 lead millions of employees and large scale business decisions everyday.

As number two on the Fortune 500 list, Walmart is regarded as one of the very first “big businesses” to ever go multinational. The statistics on Walmart are astonishing: housing more than two million full-time employees, boasting a whopping $405 billion in revenue last year and owning more than 8,500 stores worldwide. Beginning as a small business investment, it is no doubt that the Walmart corporation took someone with a vision to develop its domination in the business world. Not only did it take a vision, but someone audacious, reliable and empowering enough to execute such a large dream. In 1962, small business owner Sam Walton opened the very first Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas. The strategy of the business was one the world had not seen yet before: a chain discount store. Within just five years, it had expanded to 24 stores, and by 1968, it had went multistate. That was just the beginning of the Walmart rise to reign. But what qualities did Sam have to build such an empire? Many claims Walton was very inquisitive and open to criticism of his business in order to improve it; he was constantly concerned about the customer and looking to improve. Walton was also...
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