Superbosses and Self-Assessment

Get introduced to the concept of the superboss, the manager who helps develop and grow talent.

Every industry has its leading lights, its superstars, its innovators. For ours, names like Bjarne Stroustrup, James Gosling, and Guido van Rossum come to mind. But while each of these is impressive in terms of what they have done themselves, other names from other industries highlight what we currently lack: the concept of the superboss, the manager who knows how to help talented people accomplish more than they ever dreamed was possible, and in the process develops a talent machine that makes almost everyone who enters the superboss’ orbit a star. Journalism had Gene Roberts. American football had Bill Walsh. Hollywood had Roger Corman. Real estate had Bill Sanders. Wine had Robert Mondavi. And comedy television? Jon Stewart. Each of these people became a “spawning point” for the great talent of their industry, by taking people under their wing, teaching and coaching them, and turning them back out into their industry to shine in their own right.

As a goal for us as engineering managers, it’s not a bad one to have.

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