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, Episode 71

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 “ultra listener.”
  • 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:


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


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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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