Paper Example. Book Analysis of Superbosses

Published: 2024-01-14
Paper Example. Book Analysis of Superbosses
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Human resources Personal leadership Books Leadership management
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1763 words
15 min read

Superbosses is a book by Sydney Finkelstein that analyses various exemplary leaders from multiple industries and offers insight into their achievements and the traits that make them superbosses. In the book, the term superbosses refers to bosses who have outperformed others due to their passion and ability to make a difference in their respective industries. Sydney's book serves as a guide for employers and human capital practitioners in general as it explores essential aspects of the employer-employee relationship within an organization. There are multiple lessons presented in the book ranging from the most fundamental concepts in human capital practice such as employer accountability tore complex ones like talent magnetism

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This paper is divided into seven major sections. The first section is a content review of the book offers an overall analysis of the book one chapter at a time. The second section evaluates the lessons presented in Superbosses, while the third section is the relationship between various concepts in the book and human capital practice. The fourth section expounds on how specific ideas in the book impact my practice of human capital, and the fifth segment gives the importance of these concepts to me as a practitioner. Lastly, the seventh segment discusses the recommended applications of Superbosses in human capital practice.

Content Review of Superbosses

Superbosses is an iconic book for any individuals interested in concepts relating to human capital practice, especially on the managerial level. The main agenda of the book is to assist executives in becoming better leaders while at the same time outperforming others in their industries. Superbosses comprises nine broad chapters. The book's introduction is very captivating as it introduces the reader to the book's main ideas. The book starts with a catchy story meant to give insight into the book's reason and how Sydney gathered information on these Superbosses. The first chapter of the book defines a superboss and provides a complete account of Sydney's research journey. In this chapter, the author describes various types of Superbosses while explaining what makes a boss a superboss. Before concluding the chapter, Sydney points out the characteristics of Superbosses and even gives several examples of renowned leaders with the described traits. Like in the rest of the book, the stories incorporated into this chapter make it easier to understand Sydney's concepts as they serve as vivid examples. Chapter one is beneficial for leaders and executives aiming to become superbosses.

The second chapter of Superbosses explores the criteria used by Superbosses when putting up teams. Unlike chapter one, this chapter analyses concept crucial for both leaders and employees. Sydney writes about employee traits that appeal to superbosses while explaining why these traits are essential. One vital section of this chapter describes the importance of churn and would serve as an eye-opener for any human capital practitioner. Similarly, chapter three does not disappoint as it guides the reader on motivating his/her employees to greatness. This chapter is especially crucial for executives and bosses since it points out most bosses' negative strategies and then provides healthy alternatives that guarantee performance. This chapter is great for anyone interested in learning how to motivate and inspire others, especially as leaders.

Chapter four is essential for both bosses and employees because it covers accountability. This chapter lays out both employer and employee accountability standards. The author tackles what is expected of any employers aspiring to be a superboss and then explains the aspect of employee accountability as a follow-up idea. Chapter five educates bosses on how best they can teach recruits. Sydney similarly compares formal and informal teaching strategies offering advantages and shortcomings. In this chapter, the author emphasizes the importance of apprenticeship and gives several examples of master-apprenticeship relationships. By reading this chapter, executives get insight into how to cultivate meaningful relationships with their employees to foster an organization's growth. Chapter six focuses on responsibility concerning the employers and employees. This chapter expands more on accountability, as seen in chapter four. As an addition, Sydney explains the factors that make any organization a career hub.

The last three chapters epically summarize the book. These chapters examine collaboration among teams formed by superbosses and the relationship between bosses and their protégés once they move on to other organizations. Chapter eight explicitly emphasizes the significance of the relationships between Superbosses and their protégés and how they impact the latter. Lastly, chapter ten serves as a follow-up for the whole book. Sydney prompts the readers, both employees, and bosses, to evaluate themselves and their strategies compared to the information in the previous chapter. Lastly, the author arranges the chapters in Superbosses in a way that ensures the continuity of ideas. This way, the reader can use the book as a reference guide, even when starting their career.

Overall Lessons Presented in Superbosses

The book Superbosses presents various lessons ranging from how to become a superboss to bosses' mistakes that hinder them from becoming better leaders. This section expounds on three main lessons presented in the book: how to become a superboss, how to inspire like a superboss, mistakes made by bosses, the main categories of superbosses, and the importance of well-defined visions.

Finkelstein gives a thorough overview of how one can become a superboss. Nevertheless, for someone to learn how to become a superboss, they need to understand one's characteristics so that they can know what to emulate. The first characteristic of superbosses is that they create opportunities for those under their leadership to grow and progress in their careers. Superbosses do not limit their protégés but rather help them achieve their maximum potential by creating ladders' for them in the work environment. The second characteristic is that superbosses do not conform to the traditional ways of doing things. On the contrary, they always formulate new ways of achieving success, which, when emulated by others, create successful teams and other superbosses. According to Finkelstein, these new ways, when integrated into organizations, make most careers more lucrative and appealing since they give employment more meaning and purpose (2016). Similarly, when these strategies disseminate to a larger audience, they can change an entire industry. In simple terms, superbosses are game-changers such that they always find solutions for even the most trivial issues.

The second lesson learned from Superbosses is that regardless of one's personality, one can become a superboss. Finkelstein gives an overview of the different types of leaders and superbosses. According to Finkelstein, there are three main types of superbosses, depending on their leadership approaches and personalities (2016). The first type of superbosses is iconoclasts. According to Finkelstein, Iconoclasts are individuals driven by a passion for their work such that they end up inspiring those around them (2016). For this group of bosses, inspiring others is not on their agenda; hence the lessons others learn from them come about organically. Iconoclasts dedicate their time and energy to fulfilling their visions and, in the process, end up unconsciously motivating and uplifting their teams. Iconoclasts do not conform to specific teaching methodologies since their effect is always intuitive rather than systematic. The second type of superbosses is the Glorious Bastards. These are kind of superbosses whose primary goal is winning. Glorious Bastards are willing to do anything to stretch themselves and those around them to achieve their goals. These bosses, therefore, require the best people in their field to work alongside them to ensure they succeed. Lastly, there are the Nurturers. These types of leaders willingly and intentionally guide their teams and protégés into greatness. Also, such bosses form close relationships with those around them.

The last lesson in Superbosses is the importance of clearly defined visions in any organization or team. Finkelstein dramatically emphasizes the need for bosses to formulate reasonable and well-thought visions for each group (2016). He further states that a sound vision should indicate the primary purpose and goals of the organization. Similarly, he argues that after formulating a vision, a boss needs to articulate it to his/her employees to understand its role in the organization. Articulation from the leaders is critical since employees look up to their bosses and work to achieve their goals. Visions should be the cornerstone of any team since they significantly motivate and energize employees. Employees that understand the vision, why it is crucial, and how they can fulfill it tend to perform better. However, if the management fails to emphasize a company's vision, the employees also neglect it, eventually becoming insignificant. Finkelstein explains how most employees cannot remember their organization's vision since even their bosses do not understand the role of a sound vision and the positive impact on their teams (2016).

Relationship of the Concepts in Superbosses to Human Capital Practices

The book Superbosses comprises of concepts that significantly relate to human practices. These concepts focus on human capital practitioners, such as executives, and offer insight into the best practices observed from superbosses in different industries. This section will evaluate four main concepts in Superbosses and expound on their relationship with human capital practices. These concepts are fluidity, accountability, and the employer-employee relationship.

First, the book emphasizes the fluid nature of any industry in that factors making up an organization, such as employees, customers, and needs, keep changing. Although an organization's goals rarely shift away from the roots, the means of executing these goals are always changing. At any two given points of any business' life, what is required of employees changes? These changes often result from external factors such as competition, the economy, and technological advancements. For this reason, Finkelstein encourages bosses to accommodate and foster innovation in their workplaces (2016). He furthers expounds on how bosses can foster innovation, such as encouraging their teams not to fixate on specific methods. Finkelstein argues that bosses need to encourage their employees to be open to new ways of doing things (2016). Employees can achieve this by absorbing new concepts in the industry and integrating them into their work. Most of the time, incorporating new methodologies involves taking risks, and bosses should emphasize the importance of risks to prevent failure.

Similarly, bosses can foster innovation by coming up with new opportunities to which their teams can contribute. Creating such opportunities for employees ensures that they are frequently on their toes, looking for new solutions for new problems presented to them by their leaders. Lastly, Finkelstein suggests that leaders create work environments that foster creativity and innovation (2016). Such environments exist only when employees have the freedom to solve problems innovatively without permission or fear of being seen as incompetent when they fail.

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