Over the past decade, Sydney Finkelstein has studied the world’s greatest bosses, extraordinarily successful leaders that have unleashed vast pipelines of talent. He calls them “superbosses,” and in the following article, first published in the Harvard Business Review, he explains why “Superbosses Aren’t Afraid to Delegate Their Biggest Decisions.”
Superbosses Aren’t Afraid to Delegate Their Biggest Decisions
By Sydney Finkelstein
August 24, 2016 | Harvard Business Review
The answer to excessive micromanaging, we’re often told, is to learn to trust our reports, empowering them to make decisions for themselves. Yet that sounds far easier than it actually is. In practice, many bosses fail to delegate because they haven’t cultivated a set of underlying mindsets and practices.
Over the past decade, I’ve studied the world’s greatest bosses, extraordinarily successful leaders who have also unleashed vast pipelines of talent. These “superbosses,” as I called them, spanned dozens of industries and included legendary figures such as fast casual restaurant magnate Norman Brinker, packaged foods titan Michael Miles, tech mogul Larry Ellison, hedge fund pioneer Julian Robertson, media icon Oprah Winfrey, and a host of others.
Analyzing these leaders’ careers and business practices, I found that superbosses were expert delegators, ceding degrees of authority and control that would send chills down the spines of ordinary bosses. Would you hand a twenty-something $25 million in seed capital and tell him to go off on his own to manage it? Julian Robertson did. Would you task a young protégé with generating the main strategy for a new real estate development — only two days before a big presentation with investors? If you’re real estate legend Bill Sanders, the answer is yes.
I wondered how superbosses could place such trust in protégés. After reviewing thousands of pages of published sources and interviewing over 200 people, I concluded that innate and unshakable self-confidence certainly played a major role. Yet I discovered an even more important factor…
Read the Rest of this Story by Sydney Finkelstein @ Harvard Business Review: Superbosses Aren’t Afraid to Delegate Their Biggest Decisions