71. How to Become An Exceptional Leader Who Can Energize Teams And Is Her Industry’s Ultimate Talent Magnet, Top Management Guru Professor Sydney Finkelstein Shares His Wisdom


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What if there were more similarities across sectors than differences? What if the best bosses --- the “talent magnets” across sectors shared qualities that you could learn and apply today? It was a pleasure to speak with one of the world’s most prolific and generous (both) thinkers in the field of management, my former Tuck professor Sydney Finkelstein. The last time we spoke was in NYC at a tiny coffee shop during which time he was sharing his research findings pertaining to his concept of “superbosses.” So what’s a superboss? Are you one? Have you ever been led by one? We talk about all of this as well as why Professor Sydney Finkelstein decided to launch his own podcast the Sydcast.

About Sydney Finkelstein

Sydney Finkelstein is the Steven Roth Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He holds a Masters degree from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Professor Finkelstein has published 25 books and 90 articles, including the bestsellers Why Smart Executives Fail and Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, which LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman calls the “leadership guide for the Networked Age.” He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Management, a consultant and speaker to leading companies around the world, and a top 25 on the global Thinkers 50 list of top management gurus. Professor Finkelstein’s research and consulting work often relies on in-depth and personal interviews with hundreds of people, an experience that led him to create and host his own podcast, The Sydcast, to uncover and share the stories of all sorts of fascinating people in business, sports, entertainment, politics, academia, and everyday life.

Please share this episode with three aspiring people leaders who want to become known in their fields as the absolute best person to work for when it comes to learning from the best.


Classroom Experience: What is it like to teach using Zoom in a grad program? Any positives?

Why Superbosses, the book?: The story of how readers kept asking the same questions that prompted the book.

Hypothesis: The idea of continually regenerating talent and how Professor Finkelstein followed his curiosity across sectors.

Research: What distinguishes good leaders vs. “superbosses”?

Options: Is it okay for top talent to leave your company? How realistic is it to think you can keep them?

Positive Churn: What’s the business case for helping a star employee find a new job?

Talent Magnet: Here’s a tip for you to become one.

Distinctions: Good vs. great bosses.

Hiring: What’s better to a “superboss”: an average player for a decade or a superstar for a handful of years?

Vision: How do you get people excited about your vision? Superbosses do this well.

Entrepreneurship: How do you cultivate your own vision when you are alone like Muyambi a prior podcast guest.

Vulnerability: How do “superbosses” get people energized?

Podcast: Why did Professor Finkelstein start Sydcast?

Skills: Why podcast? Well, it’s one way to leverage your interviewing skills.

On Being a Great Podcast Host: Lessons learned and how to become an “ultralistener.”

On Being a Great Podcast Guest: Thoughts on how much to give of yourself.

Podcast Ambitions: What does Professor Finkelstein intend or hope for his listeners?

Benefits: The several ways that becoming a podcaster has changed him.

Scoops: What’s next for Professor Finkelstein?

Follow the links to learn more:

Learn about the Sydcast podcast

Follow Professor Finkelstein on Instagram

Meet on Twitter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSydcast

Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent

Other podcast episodes referenced

How To Make A Positive Social Impact And Bring Others Along For The Ride, Muyambi Muyambi, Founder of Cycle Connect and Author of The Magical Wooden Bicycle, Episode 51

Former GE Vice Chair of Business Innovation and CMO Beth Comstock On Granting Yourself Permission To Explore A Changing Reality, Episode 65

Want to continue the conversation?

Find me on Instagram! You can read my daily mini-blogs centered on the same three topics that my podcast features: creativity, courage, and curiosity. I believe that without all three it would be impossible to solve the challenges we were each uniquely made to solve. Wouldn’t you agree? I’m easy to find on Instagram @careeroutcomesmatter

Rather keep it professional?

Let’s connect on LinkedIn. I encourage every single podcast listener to connect with me.

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