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‘Superstar’ leaders do some damage

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Richard Scrushy, Ken Lay, Bernie Ebbers: Are you listening?

A recent study shows that companies run by superstars who’ve won major awards from the business press underperform their competitors and markets in the years after winning, as they start spending more time on things that don’t help the company.

Dartmouth professor Sydney Finkelstein says that “spectacularly unsuccessful” leaders who leave devastation in their wake have these characteristics in common:
  1. They see themselves and their companies as dominating their environments.

  2. They demand total, unquestioning loyalty.

  3. They think they can solve every problem.

  4. They identify themselves almost completely with their companies.
Lesson: Cherish your critics.

— Adapted from “Local Zeroes,” James Surowiecki, The New Yorker.

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