I’m very excited that Sydney is going to be a speaker at the upcoming Future of Work Forum. Lately, I’ve been surrounded by the theme of management and leadership, and the role of each in the future of work. Today, we are chatting with Sydney Finkelstein to discuss what makes some leaders truly exceptional. Sydney is the Steven Roth Professor of Management and faculty director of the Tuck Executive Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He is also the author of the phenomenal new book Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent.
The idea for Sydney’s book and the Superboss title arose from a pattern that he noticed in the food industry where sous-chefs at a particular restaurant were moving on to new restaurants and becoming executive chefs. Sydney began to research if the pattern was present in other industries and found that in many fields, one person has immense influence in the development of talent in that field. The book took 10 years to write… the more time Sydney spent on it, the more fascinated he became!
So what exactly is a Superboss? While a leader is someone that creates other leaders, a Superboss is even more than that. A Superboss is a leader that helps other people accomplish more than they ever thought possible. He or she really makes it their business to turbocharge their employees’ careers. While most bosses are narrowly focused on performance, command, and control, a Superboss has an invested interest in employees succeeding.
Sydney shares some examples of Superbosses ranging from Ralph Lauren of fashion to Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle. He has found that there are 3 types of Superboss: Iconoclasts that tend to be creative and need to learn, Glorious Bastards who are tough and may even lead with ridicule, and Nurturers that truly care about the success of their protégés. We discuss how to spot a Superboss and how to interview a prospective employer to learn if they are a Superboss.
“Anyone in an organization can become a Superboss.” – Sydney Finkelstein
We all have the potential to be a Superboss. The traits are completely learnable and teachable but one must be willing to make the commitment. Instead of solely thinking about development of talent and retention, consider the outflow. The best talent most likely sees themselves moving on to bigger and better things so enable that idea. Continue to interact with your team members after they leave your nest. Always be on the look out for talent, inspire your team, instill confidence in others, delegate tasks but don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, as well!
What you will learn in this episode:
- What is a Superboss
- What separates a Superboss from others
- How Superbosses fit in with organizational structures
- Real examples of who a Superboss is
- How do we identify a Superboss to work for them
- Servant-based leadership
- How Superbosses are motivating employees
- Innovation and talent in HR
Links From The Episode: