Great Leaders Develop Future Managers and Leaders

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Eugene James
Manager, Switzerland

Great Leaders Develop Future Managers and Leaders

Beyond building mighty companies, great leaders groom their managers to become in turn future successful leaders. That is according to Sydney Finkelstein (2016), who argues that what sets great leaders apart is a range of personality traits - such as high confidence, a competitive and imaginative streak - while they also act with integrity.
Furthermore, through an extensive survey, Finkelstein identified a number of key practices shared by "Superbosses" in developing talent. A cornerstone of the practices consists of out-of-the-box hiring, inspired by the following principles:
  1. Value people who exhibit unconventional thinking.
  2. Seek for talent in a broad pool. Take risks to bet on unproven prospects.
  3. Tap into managers-talent and accordingly assign tasks, rather than fitting them into strait-jacket jobs
  4. Allow managers to move on to build their career. This sends a strong signal to external talented candidates.
  5. Instill a culture of excellence wherein managers strive to surpass their limits.
  6. Nurture talent in engaging on a one-on-one basis. This involves delegating responsibility providing guidance and the ropes to succeed. In essence, build a relationship in which managers get to translate their full potential into tangible results.
  7. Extend delegation of responsibility to encompass an entire array of challenging projects that will accelerate learning and development.
  8. Keep in touch with former managers. As they progress in their careers, they step in to positions that can generate new business opportunities.
Source: Sydney Finkelstein, "Secrets of the Superbosses", Harvard Business Review, Jan-Feb 2016.

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