It all starts at the top.
Managers make or break workplaces, says Alex Charfen, CEO of the Austin-based Charfen Institute. Talented leaders motivate, are approachable, offer opportunities for advancement and provide routine feedback. Not–so–skilled bosses often micromanage, rule by fear and spend most of the day locked in their offices, unavailable.
"Morale craters because people don't know what's going on, how to make things better, or what their role is," said Charfen, whose company provides business leadership coaching around the globe. "Human beings, by their nature, want to perform. They want to succeed. They want to be recognized."
Executives at many of the businesses highlighted in the American–Statesman's 2011 Top Workplaces of Greater…