A GOOD BOSS HITS HIS GOALS AND LEADS HIS TEAM. A SUPERBOSS BLOWS AWAY HER GOALS BY BUILDING AN ARMY OF NEW LEADERS. WHICH WOULD YOU RATHER BE? What do football coach Bill Walsh, restaurateur Alice Waters, television executive Lorne Michaels, technol ogy CEO Larry Ellison, and fashion pioneer Ralph Lauren have in common? On the surface, not much, other than consistent success in their fields. But below the surface, they share a common approach to finding, nurturing, leading, and even letting go of great people. The way they deal with talent makes them not merely success stories, not merely organization builders, but what Sydney Finkelstein calls superbosses. They've all transformed entire industries. After ten years of research and more than two hundred interviews, Finkelstein has concluded that superbosses exist in nearly every industry, from the glamorous to the mundane. If you study the top fifty leaders in any field, as many as one-third will have once worked for a superboss. While superbosses differ in their personal styles, they all focus on identifying promising newcomers, inspiring their best work, and launching them into highly successful careers while also expanding their own networks and building stronger companies. Among the practices that distinguish superbosses: They Create Master-Apprentice Relationships. Superbosses customize their coaching to what each prot g really needs, and also are constant founts of practical wisdom. Advertising legend Jay Chiat not only worked closely with each of his employees but would sometimes extend their discussions into the night. They Rely on the Cohort Effect. Superbosses strongly encourage collegiality even as they simultaneously drive internal competition. Lorne Michaels set up Saturday Night Live so that writers and performers are judged by how much of their material actually gets on the air, but they can't get anything on the air without the support of their coworkers. They Say Good-Bye on Good Terms. Nobody likes it when great employees quit, but super bosses don't respond with anger or resentment. They know that former direct reports can become highly valuable members of their network, especially as they rise to major new roles elsewhere. Julian Robertson, the billionaire hedge fund manager, continued to work with his former employees who started compet ing hedge funds, and he often profited by investing in them. By sharing the fascinating stories of superbosses and their prot g's, Finkelstein explores a phenomenon that never had a name before. And he shows how each of us can emulate the best tactics of superbosses to create our own powerful networks of extraordinary talent.
Sydney Finkelstein is Professor of Strategy and Leadership at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, as well as Faculty Director of the Tuck Executive Program and Faculty Director of the Center for Leadership. He is a consultant and speaker to senior executives around the globe, as well as an executive coach, focusing on talent development, corporate governance, learning from mistakes, and strategies for growth. He has published 20 previous books, including the Wall Street Journal bestseller Why Smart Executives Fail. He is listed in the "Thinkers 50," the world's most prestigious ranking of leadership gurus. He has been featured in the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, Business Week, the London Times, Toronto Globe and Mail, the London Times, Inc, and Fast Company and is a regular columnist for the BBC. He is well known for his keynote speeches and media appearances on CNBC, Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, and Marketplace.
“Superbosses is that rare business book that does more than inform. It’s positively hard to put down.”
“Superbosses shows the incredible impact that great managers can have, both on their employees and on entire industries. As masters of career development, superbosses are both talent magnets and launchpads, remaining valued allies with their proteges long after their official relationships have ended. Syd has written a true leadership guide for the Networked Age.”
“We have long recognised Sydney Finkelstein as one of the world’s leading management thinkers. With Superbosses, he demonstrates why. It is a riveting, inspiring and practical tour de force.”