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Superbosses
Cover of Superbosses
Superbosses
How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent
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"Superbosses is the rare business book that is chock full of new, useful, and often unexpected ideas. After you read Finkelstein's well-crafted gem, you will never go about leading, evaluating, and developing talent in quite the same way."—Robert Sutton, author of Scaling Up Excellence and The No Asshole Rule

"Maybe you're a decent boss. But are you a superboss? That's the question you'll be asking yourself after reading Sydney Finkelstein's fascinating book. By revealing the secrets of superbosses from finance to fashion and from cooking to comic books, Finkelstein offers a smart, actionable playbook for anyone trying to become a better leader."—Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive

A fascinating exploration of the world's most effective bosses—and how they motivate, inspire, and enable others to advance their companies and shape entire industries, by the author of How Smart Executives Fail. A must-read for anyone interested in leadership and building an enduring pipeline of talent.

What do football coach Bill Walsh, restauranteur 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.

After ten years of research and more than two hundred interviews, Finkelstein—an acclaimed professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, speaker, and executive coach and consultant—discovered that superbosses exist in nearly every industry. 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 protégé 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. At Lorne Michaels's Saturday Night Live, 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 super­bosses 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 and invest in his former employees who started their own funds.
By sharing the fascinating stories of superbosses and their protégés, 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...
"Superbosses is the rare business book that is chock full of new, useful, and often unexpected ideas. After you read Finkelstein's well-crafted gem, you will never go about leading, evaluating, and developing talent in quite the same way."—Robert Sutton, author of Scaling Up Excellence and The No Asshole Rule

"Maybe you're a decent boss. But are you a superboss? That's the question you'll be asking yourself after reading Sydney Finkelstein's fascinating book. By revealing the secrets of superbosses from finance to fashion and from cooking to comic books, Finkelstein offers a smart, actionable playbook for anyone trying to become a better leader."—Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive

A fascinating exploration of the world's most effective bosses—and how they motivate, inspire, and enable others to advance their companies and shape entire industries, by the author of How Smart Executives Fail. A must-read for anyone interested in leadership and building an enduring pipeline of talent.

What do football coach Bill Walsh, restauranteur 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.

After ten years of research and more than two hundred interviews, Finkelstein—an acclaimed professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, speaker, and executive coach and consultant—discovered that superbosses exist in nearly every industry. 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 protégé 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. At Lorne Michaels's Saturday Night Live, 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 super­bosses 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 and invest in his former employees who started their own funds.
By sharing the fascinating stories of superbosses and their protégés, 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...
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  • Library Journal

    February 1, 2016

    Finkelstein (Steven Roth Professor of Management, Tuck Sch. of Business, Dartmouth Univ.; Why Smart Executives Fail) developed a theory that a number of successful executives were "superbosses" in that they not only were excellent executives or managers in their own right but also had the capacity to engender the same capabilities in those who worked with them. He considered several industries including professional football, advertising, consumer foods, real estate, hedge funds, comedy, the arts, and fashion to highlight creative leaders who especially nurtured and encouraged subordinates who then became successful. Case studies were constructed of 18 "superbosses"; these were enhanced by the author's extensive research interviews with both bosses and their proteges. Finkelstein surveyed the literature of each area to enhance and demonstrate his choices, identifying recurring themes and patterns in the relationships. By covering these traits and practices, the author has produced a very readable text. VERDICT Complete with valuable information for managers and their subordinates, this volume provides great advice for the practice of management.--Littleton Maxwell, Robins Sch. of Business, Univ. of Richmond

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Superbosses
How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent
Sydney Finkelstein
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