“The biggest shortage in the world is not oil or food—it’s leadership without ego.”

– Bob Davids, Brian Carney & Isaac Getz

Leadership without Ego  (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)


Bob Davids has concluded that leadership is the scarcest resource in the world today.

Because egos get involved, most people in top positions believe that they are superior to everyone else, and they believe they need something better than everyone else.  Economic assets, titles, status, and the like prevent the people at the top from subordinating themselves totally to the people they lead.

Mr. Davids approach is simple, “if you want to lead someone, you need to get behind them.  A leader should subordinate himself/herself to ‘the lowest man on the totem pole.’ Micromanagement is to be avoided at all costs.  It’s impossible to manage people, you can only lead people.”

Freedom, Inc., co-authored by a former The Wall Street Journal’s editor Brian Carney and renowned business school professor and leadership author Isaac Getz, devotes Chapter 4, “Freedom Is Not Anarchy” to Mr. Davids’ approach.  One story illustrates that from the earliest days of Mr. Davids’ California winery Sea Smoke, he refused to give his solutions to his employees.  In the winery’s second year, Davids received a phone call in the Bahamas from his general manager who was faced with a $1.8 million decision.  Davids knew that the viticulturist of Sea Smoke possessed the best solution.  By trusting this man’s opinion, Sea Smoke took an immediate $1.8 million hit.  But the bet paid off big.  Eventually Sea Smoke registered a feat no other vineyard in the world can claim:  Since its inception, Sea Smoke has been named one of the 100 best vineyards in the world by Wine Spectator every year for four years straight.