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Superbosses

How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent

By Sydney Finkelstein
13-minute read
Audio available
Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent by Sydney Finkelstein

Superbosses (2016) is the insider’s guide to understanding how charismatic, often controversial but unforgettable leaders tick. These blinks reveal the patterns and strategies of top-performing bosses, and explain how you can help your employees succeed by becoming a superboss yourself!

  • Leaders struggling to improve business performance
  • Employees curious about what makes a good boss
  • Managers seeking strategies to encourage teamwork

Sydney Finkelstein is a specialist in business leadership and strategy and has published 19 books, including Why Smart Executives Fail (2003) and Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep It from Happening to You (2009). Finkelstein is also the Steven Roth Professor of Management and faculty director at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

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Superbosses

How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent

By Sydney Finkelstein
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent by Sydney Finkelstein
Synopsis

Superbosses (2016) is the insider’s guide to understanding how charismatic, often controversial but unforgettable leaders tick. These blinks reveal the patterns and strategies of top-performing bosses, and explain how you can help your employees succeed by becoming a superboss yourself!

Key idea 1 of 8

Superbosses come in three shades: iconoclasts, inglorious bastards and nurturers.

What does an iconoclast, an “inglorious bastard” and a nurturer have in common? These are all types of “superbosses.” Each type has a strength, and each can inspire workers in different ways.

Let’s start with iconoclasts. Their unwavering focus on their vision makes them easy to identify. An iconoclast’s ability to teach and share is a knock-on effect of the type’s unwavering dedication. In sum, iconoclasts inspire without even intending to!

Jazz great Miles Davis, for example, collaborated with young musicians to keep his creative juices flowing. While his goal wasn’t necessarily to help younger talents improve, he still was known as a great teacher.

Inglorious bastards, on the other hand, are characterized by their drive to win. They aspire to greatness and will do whatever is necessary to get there, even if it means pushing people out of the way.

To achieve such goals, however, inglorious bastards need a top-notch support team. Employees are pushed to perform at their peak, as failure is not an option. Through this, workers learn a lot.

Inglorious bastards can push their teams to extremes. Oracle founder Larry Ellison is known for management by ridicule. He scares his employees to push them to succeed! While such a strategy seems draconian, it works for Oracle. In fact, Ellison was recently nominated by the magazine BusinessWeek as one of the industry’s most competitive individuals.

And on the other side, nurturers are bosses who care and want to see employees grow. We can also call them activist bosses, as they’re always ready to guide team members to ensure they thrive.

Star restaurateur Norman Brinker was known for his nurturing management style. He genuinely loved watching employees improve; today some 18 of his former team members are heads of major restaurant chains.

So how can each type of superboss take your career to the next level? We’ll find out in the next blinks.

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