When Americans think of CEOs, they often focus on the negatives, such as the perception that they're overpaid or have made strategic mistakes. Yet, many CEOs are outperforming on the job, providing strong leadership and inspiration to their employees.
Some of these highly ranked bosses are household names, thanks to high-profile charitable endeavors or the public's fascination with their accomplishments, according to a new survey from employment site Glassdoor. But many others are virtual unknowns. Despite that, they all share some common strengths, such as accessibility and dedication.
"These are CEOs who communicate and are available for their employees," said Scott Dobroski, associate director of communications at Glassdoor. One of the top three factors that keep employees satisfied is trust in senior leadership, he added.
The top CEOs spanned many industries, including consulting, technology and consumer goods. While all of the top nine are men, a longer list of the top 50 most popular corporate leaders includes four women, compared with no female CEOs in the year-earlier poll.
The top-ranked women CEOs are In-N-Out Burger's Lynsi Snyder, who was ranked 17th; Staffmark's Lesa Francis, who was 28th; Enterprise Holdings' Pamela Nicholson, who was 31st; and Deloitte's Cathy Engelbert, in 41st place.
The survey was based on employee reviews posted by workers on Glassdoor between May 2, 2015 and May 1, 2016. Companies needed at least 100 CEO rankings to be considered.
Read on to learn about the country's nine most popular CEOs.
9. Nestle Purina PetCare: Joseph Sivewright
Joe Sivewright is a relatively new CEO, coming to the helm of the pet care and pet food company last year. He's not new to the company, however, given that he joined the business in 1985.
Sivewright earned a 96 percent approval rating from his employees. One worker told Glassdoor, "Nestle Purina is a company where the senior leadership team not only asks associates what they think about how things are going at the company as a whole, but they actually respond and create action plans based on associate feedback."
8. Apple: Tim Cook
Tim Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs as CEO in 2011, has become the public face of Apple (AAPL), for better or worse. He has increasingly taken strong positions on issues ranging from sustainability (telling profit-minded shareholders to "get out of the stock" if they don't agree with him) to refusing to break the encryption on the San Bernandino terrorists' phone.
The company is also facing pressure amid a slowdown in sales of iPhones, its most popular product. Yet while dealing with these struggles, Cook is earning high marks from his employees, with a 96 percent approval rating, according to Glassdoor.
7. Google: Sundar Pichai
Sundar Pichai was described by BuzzFeed as "one of the most powerful people alive," yet most Americans are unfamiliar with the CEO of Google (GOOG). Pichai grew up in a modest house in the Indian city of Chennai and later earned degrees at Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
After joining Google in 2004, he worked on products including Chrome and Drive, and rose through the ranks. Employees give him a 96 percent approval rate, with one worker praising the company's "visionary leadership."
6. Salesforce: Marc Benioff
Marc Benioff may be best known to Americans for his outspoken stances on gay rights and civil liberties, calling on other corporate leaders to speak out against laws such as North Carolina's bathroom regulation that requires transgender people to use the restroom of their birth sex.
Aside from his corporate social activism, Benioff leads the cloud computing company Salesforce (CRM), which he started in his San Francisco apartment in 1999. He also created a philanthropic model to donate 1 percent of the company's equity, 1 percent of its employee time and 1 percent of products and services to charities or volunteering.
"Mark B - this man gets it. I love working in a company where someone at his level is not just focused on his company's bottom line but he can see how important people and culture are to build a good company," one employee told Glassdoor about Benioff, who has a 97 percent approval rating.
5. LinkedIn: Jeff Weiner
Jeff Weiner, who was ranked as the top rated CEO by employees in Glassdoor's 2014 survey, remains near the top with a 97 percent approval rating.
Weiner has said the key to being a good CEO is knowing the difference between leadership and management. "It starts with investing heavily in our culture and values, and not just talking about it but walking the walk," he told CBS in 2014.
LinkedIn (LNKD) has had several high-profile issues of late, however. A data breach back in 2012 is continuing to cause problems for users of the business-network site who hadn't change their passwords since then. The stock is down more than 40 percent this year alone after the company missed earnings forecasts.
Employees, however, remain fairly happy. As one told Glassdoor: "The CEO is just a great leader."
4. Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg
Consumers may love or hate the social media network Facebook (FB), but employees are in agreement about CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who earned a 97 percent approval rating from them.
Aside from Zuckerberg's work at Facebook, he's well known for his philanthropic efforts. He and his wife Priscilla Chan have joined the Giving Pledge, the effort created by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to convince the world's wealthiest people to agree to donate half their net worth to philanthropy.
"Mark Zuckerberg is phenomenal. Amazing leadership team. Very open, no BS, great mission," one employee told Glassdoor.
3. McKinsey & Co.: Dominic Barton
McKinsey & Co. global managing director Dominic Barton has been at the helm of the consulting firm since 2009. The company has expanded since he stepped into the role, even while he has made changes to its culture, such as pushing its consultants to be more innovative, according to Forbes.
Barton, who has a 99 percent approval rating, is a former Rhodes scholar and is an adjunct professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing.
2. Ultimate Software: Scott Scherr
Ultimate Software (ULTI) is running behind the scenes at many companies, helping with human-resources functions at the likes of P.F. Chang's and the Chicago Cubs.
Scherr, who founded Ultimate in 1990, earned a 99 percent approval rating from his employees. Still, while they love him, he has faced scrutiny for his pay package. Bloomberg reported that his pay tripled to $38.3 million last year, more than the company even earned. Still, employees say they feel he's looking out for them.
"Scott (the CEO) is the sweetest man alive, and that's why the company has such amazing culture... he takes care of anyone and everyone around him," one worker told Glassdoor.
1. Bain & Co.: Bob Bechek
Bob Bechek, the worldwide managing director of the consulting company, has worked at Bain for almost 30 years. In an interview with Poets and Quants, Bechek said "informal authority," or influencing people to get things done, is key to leadership.
"Even in my current role, the vast majority of what I do is exerted through informal and not formal authority," he said. "If you're involved in trying to get people galvanized around a particular course of action -- or to feel inspired about what we're trying to do or feel appreciated, motivated and valued -- that has almost nothing to do with formal authority."
Bechek has a 99 percent approval rate, according to Glassdoor. "Someone told me before I joined Bain, 'The best thing about Bain is how Bain runs Bain," one employee told Glassdoor.