What do football coach Bill Walsh, restaurateur Alice Waters, television executive Lorne Michaels, technology 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.
“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.”
—Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and Chairman of LinkedIn, Co-author of The Alliance
“I couldn’t agree more with Sydney Finkelstein that innovation is part of the leadership DNA. The best bosses—superbosses—must foster a culture of innovation, encourage smart risk taking, remove obstacles, and drive change. They demand world-class performance and empower their teams to achieve it. Superbosses gives leaders a playbook to bring out the best in their people.”
—Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO, GE