Good bosses are a mix of talent, ambition, personality, and authority, along with some other ingredients. However, Harvard Business Review says superbosses set themselves apart with the ability to identify and develop talent. They find, train, and develop the next group of leaders.
Sydney Finkelstein, PhD, author of Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent, reviewed thousands of articles and conducted over 200 interviews to identify 18 primary subjects, who he considers definite superbosses. Then, he analyzed these subjects for patterns to explain why these leaders were able to consistently uplift both their companies and their protégés.
Dr. Finkelstein found superbosses tend to be extremely confident, competitive, imaginative, and have a strong sense of integrity. He also found they have similar “people strategies.” Here are six practices of superbosses, according to Dr. Finkelstein.
1. They seek out unusually talented people
The traits most important to superbosses are intelligence, creativity, and flexibility. They want their team to be made up of people who can view problems from different angles and perspectives, handle surprises effectively, and learn quickly to excel in any position.
2. They adopt unlikely winners
Most bosses must adhere to some basic hiring criteria, such as credentials, but superbosses are also willing to take a chance on those who may not have as much industry experience or the right education. Superbosses reject preconceived notions of what talent should look like.
3. They tailor the job to fit the talent
If a great candidate presents themselves, a superboss will tailor a role to allow a unique skillset to rise to the top.
4. They set high expectations
Superbosses not only expect extraordinarily high performances from their team, but they also do everything they can to plant a strong sense of confidence and exceptionalism in their people.
5. They are effective delegators
Superbosses give their teams the independence to execute projects, but always remain involved in the happenings of their employees’ work.
Dr. Finkelstein wrote, “Like highly skilled craftsmen, superbosses give protégés an unusual amount of hands-on experience, but also monitor their progress, offer instruction and intense feedback, and step in to work with them side by side when necessary.”
6. They maintain relationships
Superbosses never stop supporting their protégés, even after they have moved on from the company. They are happy to make personal introductions into their networks.