Do You Have What it Takes to be a Super-Boss?

No manager wants to end up as the maligned character in the movie Horrible Bosses. A far better strategy may be to operate as a super-​boss. Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Sydney Finkelstein shares the 'secrets of super-bosses.'

Finkelstein lauds legends like Larry Ellison, Lorne Michaels and Mary Kay Ash for their business wizardry. He reminds readers that one quality these leaders have that sets them apart from others is the way they recognize and develop talent. These business people understand they can't build an empire alone. They need people who are willing and able to learn quickly and adapt as the organization grows.

In many companies, it’s common to develop rigid systems and procedures. Senior managers often aren’t open to new suggestions because of NIH – the "not invented here" attitude. Over time, this attitude can strangle an organization’s growth. Super-​bosses  don't allow themselves to get trapped in a company's bureaucracy.

If you have any leeway in your position as a manager, check out a couple of Finkelstein’s findings about how super-​bosses operate:

Creative Hiring

As you interview candidates to replace the employee who left keep an open mind. The easiest path take is to hire someone exactly like the person who just left. Some managers may also shy away from hiring a candidate who appears sharp or even over-​qualified for the job. A super-​boss won’t let that stop her. She’ll hire the best person she can find. This might mean hiring someone who doesn’t have a college degree or someone who is (gasp!) over age 40.

Adapt the Job to Fit

After hiring a great candidate, super-​bosses also mold positions to suit the new employee. In stagnant organizations with rigid structures, this isn’t easy. You may have to go up against senior management to win your case. You’ll need to make them understand that the employee can help the organization in new and different ways.  Within your own department, try to give all your employees leeway to find new and creative ways of solving organization problems and bringing in revenue.

In today’s fast-​moving business world, managers who cling to the old way of operating risk being labeled old-​school or of being left behind. To avoid that fate, reconsider how you’re hiring and developing talent in your organizations. Many managers do not have the personal drive to propel their business to the top of their industry as Steve Jobs did, but making a few positive changes to your hiring and talent development processes will benefit you, your employees and the organization.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.