An executive who's in the trenches

The 30,674 employees in the Philadelphia area who participated in this year's survey were asked to rate their company's chief executive officer in response to this prompt: "I have confidence in the leader of this organization."

The bosses with the highest scores among large, medium and small companies are our winners.

Bill McNabb, chairman and chief executive officer, the Vanguard Group.

Bill McNabb, chairman and chief executive officer, the Vanguard Group

Top leader, large companies

Vanguard, based in Valley Forge, has about 9,200 employees in the Philadelphia area, out of about 12,700 globally. The mutual fund giant manages more than $1.6 trillion - that's trillion with a "t" - for investors.

Timing is everything: An employee at Vanguard since 1986, McNabb became CEO two weeks before the Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. collapse in September 2008. "So it's been an interesting time," he said.

Leadership motto: "My philosophy, if you had to boil it all down, is two big points: One, always surround yourself with people better than yourself. And secondly, it's really not about an individual. It's about the team."

What employees said: "He keeps the crew informed, motivates us, is in the trenches with us, is approachable and believable."