Charles Good on Leadership

If you’re a leader, you understand the importance of going above and beyond to make your team successful. However, what exactly sets exceptional leaders apart from the rest? Outstanding leadership requires more than technical expertise – it also requires an understanding of the human element. From developing trust in their teams to inspiring motivation and resilience through difficult times, outstanding leaders have specific qualities that allow them to rise above their peers.

IMS educator Dr. Sydney Finkelstein, author of the book Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, identified the characteristics that make exceptional leaders stand out.


These people approach problems with a mindset focused on seeking solutions. They can take significant risks that others might avoid because of their steadfast confidence. They can take on even the most challenging difficulties thanks to their fearlessness, making them leaders in growing regions.


They enjoy competition and use it to motivate themselves and their teams to work harder and succeed more. Within their organizations, they cultivate a spirit of constructive rivalry that encourages workers to do their best. Their capacity to stay ahead of the curve and beat their rivals in a business environment is a distinguishing feature that makes them successful.


They are dreamers driven to make their visions come true and always consider what might happen. They constantly look for novel and more effective ways to innovate because they dislike how things are. Because of their creative nature, Superbosses can see beyond the limitations of the present and predict a better future.


When discussing integrity, we do not just mean honesty in how it is often understood. Instead, it alludes to upholding a fundamental belief or feeling of identity. Unlike confident leaders, Superbosses are not interested in playing games. They are not sidetracked by the need to appease their egos or manipulate others to further their objectives. Instead, they stay loyal to who they are, their beliefs, and what they stand for. This integrity is essential to their leadership effectiveness because it enables them to gain the respect and confidence of their employees.


Authenticity is the logical extension of integrity. So many supervisors want to project a particular image onto their staff. They maintain a strict fa├žade and reserve their “true” selves for times when they are not at work, not Superbosses. They exhibit their personalities in their relationships with others regularly.

Exemplary leaders like those identified as Superbosses offer us more significant insights into what makes a successful leader. Delegation and trust are critical, but so are confidence, competitiveness, imagination, integrity, and authenticity. Aspiring business magnates should view themselves as students of the greats, learning from the examples of Superbosses to innovate within their teams and cultivate an atmosphere of excellence that breeds success for all involved. Ultimately, these kinds of extraordinary leaders set the benchmark for maximizing potential in any organization.

For more tips and techniques on what makes exceptional leaders stand out, listen to my interview with Dr. Sydney Finkelstein, where we explore in more depth the characteristics of Superbosses and much more. You can also read our previous articles on Rethinking Leadership by Matt Kutz, or The Leadership Skills You Are Missing by John Lankford.


Charles Good is the president of The Institute for Management Studies, which provides transformational learning experiences that drive behavioral change and develop exceptional leaders. Charles is an innovative and resourceful leader who specializes in bringing people together to develop creative organizational and talent strategies that enable business results. His areas of expertise include assessing organizational skill gaps and leading the design, creation and delivery of high impact, innovative learning solutions that achieve business goals.

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