Sydney Finkelstein, speaker for CEO Trust’s upcoming SUPERBOSSES events, is featured in today’s Washington Post piece, “What makes a boss a ‘Superboss’.” Professor Finkelstein is the Steven Roth Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Leadership at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College where he teaches courses on Leadership and Strategy. On March 22, Professor Finkelstein will discuss with The CEO Trust what makes a “superboss,” sharing fascinating stories of superbosses and outlining how we can emulate the best tactics of superbosses to create our own powerful networks of extraordinary talent. Read article below and click for event and registration info. for CEO Trust’s Greater Philadelphia and New York City chapter events.
What Makes a boss a 'Superboss'
by Jena McGregor February 11 at 9:59 AM
Most of us just want a decent boss. Someone who doesn't take credit for our work. Who doesn't mind if we don't immediately respond to an email sent after 11 p.m. Who actually asks us every once in a while how we're doing.
But Dartmouth business school professor Sydney Finkelstein decided to study what he calls "Superbosses" -- leaders who not only get their people to achieve great things but go on to become great leaders themselves. In his new book by the same name, Finkelstein examines the leaders who sit at the top of coaching trees, who inspired a generation of new leaders in an industry, and who've helped people move on to do their own thing -- even if it means letting them go.
In the process, he examines the protégés and careers of leaders like legendary football coach Bill Walsh, who launched the careers of so many future NFL coaches; fast casual dining pioneer Norman Brinker, whose employees went on to found many similar restaurant joints; and fashion magnate Ralph Lauren, who helped along designers ranging from Joseph Abboud to Vera Wang.
But don't get the wrong idea, Finkelstein says: "superbosses" are not necessarily nice, generous mentors. Rather, they tend to be motivated by their own goals, whether it's to win, improve their legacy, or better their own work or their own art. We spoke with Finkelstein about what we can learn from these "talent spawners." The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
How'd you come up with the idea for the book?
I’m really into food. All kinds of restaurants. There was an article I was reading that showed a graphic of a famous French chef -- I wish I could remember who it was -- which talked about all his sous chefs and former sous chefs. It graphed out this tree, of how everybody went on after a period of time and worked at all these other really great restaurants, who used to work for this great chef.
I thought 'that’s really kind of cool,' and I wondered whether that’s true anywhere else, so I started to poke around. I wanted to know who’s the best of the best, and that’s what got me to [Chez Panisse chef and founder] Alice Waters. The evidence is pretty overwhelming -- the number of chefs and bakers and restauranteurs who worked for her.
I'd also heard stories in the past about [former San Francisco 49ers] coach Bill Walsh, and how he had a lot of former assistant coaches that had become head coaches. It turned out to be an overwhelming number. For everyone else, there was considerably less.
Full article here.