Superbosses Book Summary By Sydney Finkelstein

*This post contains affiliate links, and we may earn an affiliate commission without it ever affecting the price you pay.

Superbosses (2016) is the essential guide for business owners and leaders who want to become true Superbosses - those extraordinary leaders who are capable of inspiring excellence in their employees.

This book reveals the secrets of these Superbosses, looking closely at their patterns and strategies, showing readers how they can improve employee performance by becoming a Superboss themselves.

The author draws on decades’ worth of research and interviews with leaders from around the world, as well as anecdotal evidence from real-life cases.

When it comes to creating an environment where employees thrive and excel, this book is your go-to guide.

Superbosses Book

Book Name: Superbosses (How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent)

Author(s): Sydney Finkelstein

Rating: 4.2/5

Reading Time: 16 Minutes

Categories: Management & Leadership

Author Bio

Sydney Finkelstein has had a distinguished career in business, leadership and strategy.

Over the years he's published an impressive nineteen 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).

He is currently the Steven Roth Professor of Management at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business and also serves as its faculty director.

An expert in his field, Finkelstein launched yet another book in 2020 - Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent.

The book is about identifying business leaders who are able to foster exceptional talent among their peers.

With this publication, Finkelstein is certainly continuing his legacy as an authority in his field.

How To Be A Superboss: What You Can Learn From Great Leaders Like Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison

Having a successful boss can be difficult, as they have to make tough decisions that not everyone will always agree with.

That being said, there are managers out there who manage to inspire their team even when they may be demanding or tough on them.

These managers are known as “superbosses” – and we’re here to help you find your inner superboss and help your employees succeed!

In these sections, we’ll discover how an “inglorious bastard,” such as Larry Ellison, is able to earn managerial success despite their sometimes-abrasive management style.

We’ll also uncover how flexibility in the workplace can benefit everyone who works for you – with no need for special stretches or physical activities.

Ultimately, it all comes down to finding what makes you a superboss.

Be fearless with making tough decisions and strive for greatness in whatever department you lead -all while supporting your team every step of the way!

Only then will you truly become a superboss who will leave lasting impressions in your workplace.

What Superbosses Can Teach Us About Taking Our Careers To The Next Level

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

All of these types are unique in their own way.

Iconoclasts have an unwavering focus on their vision which inspires those around them.

Take legendary jazz musician Miles Davis, who was known to collaborate with young musicians despite not intending to help them improve – he still made a great teacher nonetheless.

Inglorious bastards are all about the drive for success and greatness, regardless of the tactics that must be used to get there.

Oracle founder Larry Ellison is known for management by ridicule and pushing people out of the way; while it may seem draconian, it works for Oracle as evidenced by BusinessWeek’s nomination of him as one of the industry’s most competitive individuals.

Nurturers care and want to see employees grow; they are activists bosses who strive to inspire others through guidance and support for them to thrive.

An example is Star restaurateur Norman Brinker who had 18 team members go on to become heads of major restaurant chains due to his nurturing management style.

Thus, by understanding what kind of superboss you want your career to follow, you can take your career to the next level!

The 3 Qualities That Define A Successful Superboss: Vision, Fearlessness, And Competitiveness

Every superboss has three key qualities that set them apart: a clear, bold vision, an unwavering fearlessness and an unquenchable competitiveness.

Take visionary fashion icon Ralph Lauren, for example.

He had no shortage of ambition and was able to construct worlds and simply fill in the blanks.

When it comes to fearlessness, look no further than Oracle founder Larry Ellison who loves racing sailboats or restaurateur Norman Brinker who despite almost dying during a polo match still enjoyed playing it!

Intel co-founder Robert Noyce was even known to sprint through the streets of Bali during monsoon season with his trusty motto “No guts, no glory” on his back.

Finally, superbosses crave competition and seek out every opportunity to prove their mettle.

Financier Michael Milken is just one such person who silently competed with himself when doing simple chores like timing how quickly he could complete them.

These qualities are what make a superboss stand out from the rest – a clear, bold vision unmatched courage and an unquenchable competitive spirit!

Superbosses: Cultivating Charisma Through Integrity And Authenticity

Integrity And Authenticity

The magnetic charisma of a superboss is based on their integrity and authenticity.

We can look at Jorma Panula, the conductor of Viennese music festival, to see how this character trait stands out in a person.

He is known for his passionate pursuit of the quality of his music, despite rejecting many trends in the industry which glorify vanity and ego-stroking.

Tommy Frist, former founder of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), also displayed integrity through his actions and conversations with employees.

He was keen to talk about his family whenever he had the chance, highlighting how proud he was of his children.

Even when on business trips Frist made time to write letters home to them while away.

Authenticity is another trait that defines the charismatic nature of a superboss.

Instead they opt for showing employees their true personalities and allowing others to get acquainted with them on a personal level – something that makes them very likable and memorable individuals indeed!

What Does A Superboss Look For In Employees? Intelligence, Creativity And Flexibility

When recruiting employees, superbosses are looking for individuals who demonstrate intelligence and creativity.

They want people who “get it” and understand that intelligence is key.

Superbosses look for team players with a keen sense of style, providing insight in the field they work in.

For example, Ralph Laurent was always looking for workers with “fashion intelligence” no matter which department they worked for.

Creativity is another trait a superboss looks out for when hiring someone new – because they need someone who can think differently and come up with innovative solutions to solve problems.

Norman Brinker, Larry Ellison and American director Roger Corman all make it clear that they’re expecting potential hires to share their ideas in job interviews.

In addition to this, superbosses also value flexibility – not just the ability to switch schedule at short notice but rather the talent to confront unfamiliar situations confidently and come up with solutions on the spot.

This is why Bill Sanders would often move his employees to different departments without prior experience or education; or why Roger Corman would sometimes assign actors positions on his films production teams without them having previous experience in them as well.

If you manage to prove your “wow factor” by demonstrating intelligence and creativity as well as being flexible enough to cover any ground whatsoever – then a superboss may just have found its next superstar!

How Superbosses Motivate Employees By Raising Expectations And Inspiring Confidence

Superbosses are relentless when it comes to challenging and encouraging their employees to push harder and strive for even more.

They don’t just settle for the numbers or results; they continually raise their expectations, always pushing the business further and higher.

This kind of ambition is contagious, seeping into each team member’s self-esteem, ultimately boosting performance.

Take Kenny Thomas from Ralph Lauren, who had never dreamed he could reach such heightened levels of work excellence until he was pushed by Lauren.

Dwight Clark from the San Francisco 49ers football team was also inspired by his coach Bill Walsh’s supreme confidence which enabled him and all his players to achieve greater heights—all because of a superboss who believed in them and rubbed off that belief on the entire team.

It’s evident that with a superboss around there are no limits—even if those boundaries were previously set by the individual employee.

By pushing themselves beyond those boundaries, they unlock new levels of excellence which come with continued motivation, determination, and all other traits of a strong leadership style.

Superbosses Combine Professional Bonds With Emotional Ties To Create Winning Teams

Winning Teams

Superbosses understand that strong team performance comes from powerful bond connections and a competitive spirit.

To boost teamwork among employees, they encourage both vertical bonds between leaders and employees and horizontal bonds bonding employees to each other.

These bonds leave room for healthy rivalry, which pushes employees to strive harder while still maintaining the team’s integrity.

For example, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels hired more cast members than necessary to ensure that there was always room to be competitive; only those who could show off the best sketches would perform on the show.

Meanwhile, he worked hard to create an atmosphere of family among the unit in order to build lasting relationships with his team.

This helps prevent competition from tearing apart team bonds – when colleagues know each other well enough on an emotional level, it’s much easier for them to work as a single unit despite any friendly rivalry or competition among their ranks.

Further down the line, strong relationships also help superbosses’ reputation and their companies’, as former employees help build up the talent brand by doing good work elsewhere after leaving their past jobs – something Roger Corman would refer to as ‘shining elsewhere.’ All of this together allows superbosses and their teams alike to benefit from a bit of friendly competition, promoting teamwork instead of divisiveness!

Ready To Become A Superboss? Use The Superboss Quotient To Guide Your Professional Moves

If you’re looking to become a better boss, the solution is right in front of you!

The “superboss quotient” consists of three questions that you should use to evaluate and assess your own capabilities as a leader.

The first question is whether or not you have a vision that inspires both yourself and your team.

If not, it’s important to identify what makes work satisfying for you and the importance of your work within the bigger picture.

Keep in mind that expressing this vision in one sentence is critical – it should be something to always come back to when feeling unmotivated or wanting to motivate your team.

The second part of the superboss quotient entails observing how often team members feel close with one another or stay in touch with people who leave the organization.

This demonstrates the level at which they trust each other and enjoy working with each other outside office hours.

Finally, the third question requires evaluating the amount of time spent helping employees learn, as well as trusting them enough to give them challenging tasks despite potential risks.

It reveals how much faith you have in their success and growth within your company.

So don’t waste any more time – start using these questions from the superboss quotient now so that you can start leading like a real superboss tomorrow!

Wrap Up

Superbosses are the type of business leaders that stand out from others due to their clear vision, fearless attitude, competitive spirit and ability to push employees to do their best.

They possess integrity and authenticity and have an innate knack for creating a unified, caring team.

Becoming a superboss is surefire way to take your business success up a notch or two.

For those looking for some tips on how to become one, try dedicating one day as “superboss day” in order to put these principles into action.

Whether you choose to be a nurturer, an iconoclast or even an inglorious bastard – think of it like acting – use this opportunity to experiment with different styles and see which one works best for you and your team!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.