What percentage of people would say they’ve ever had a really great boss?

In an ideal world, most of us could recall a long list of past and present managers who fit the bill. But we know highly caring & supportive managers remain rare in most workplaces.

As evidenced by consistently low employee engagement scores around the globe – & record high turnover leading up to the COVID pandemic – the signs are everywhere that too few managers possess an ability to inspire people while concurrently driving performance.

According to long-time Wharton Business School emeritus professor, Stewart Friedman, one reason business has a legacy of having so many poor leaders is because it’s only fairly recently that companies placed a premium on leadership development. In fact, only in the past several years have top MBA programs begun to put leadership training on par with traditional curriculum elements.

This means many people who graduated from elite universities, & are now at the top of the ladder at major organizations, had an education that emphasized accounting, financial analysis, marketing & operations – but provided only a cursory exposure to ethics, trust & human motivation.

In this truly wonderful conversation, Friedman describes why business schools mostly ignored leadership for decades, & shares how world events effectively forced them to begin teaching more humane managerial practices.

As we slowly emerge from the COVID-crisis, the experience that millions of people around the globe are having in working from home will have permanently changed them. One key outcome of this is that organizational leadership will need to quickly pivot and begin to authentically care about people not just as employees, but also with respect to how their work experience affects all the other important aspects of their lives.

With the exception of two years spent running Ford Motor Company’s leadership development program, Friedman has been at Wharton since 1984. He’s the founder of his school’s leadership development program in addition to its “Work/Life Integration Project. He’s also the author of “Total Leadership: Be A Better Leader, Have A Richer Life” & co-author of the brand new, “Parents Who Lead.”

As genuine of a human being as it gets, Stew Friedman has amassed a truly comprehensive understanding of personal and workplace leadership – and graciously shares much of that knowledge here.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.