Jon Stewart and superbosses: Are you one of them?

"In my heart, I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity," Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show said of his position when announcing his retirement. This message was consistent with his other "superboss" traits — the unique desire and ability to help others launch their careers and make contributions to their respective fields.

Jon Stewart, at the helm of The Daily Show, discovered and promoted an unusual number of comedy stars, such as Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Ed Helms and Rob Corddry. Mr.  Carrel once commented, "I kind of owe everything to The Daily Show, and I still think of it as… a home… I've never been around a group of funnier, smarter people in my life," according to Harvard Business Review.

If you look at the top 50 most prominent leaders in any industry, just one or a few influential people have mentored a disproportionate share of top talent, Sydney Finkelstein, PhD, a professor at the Tuck School of Executive Education at Dartmouth, wrote in HBR.

What enables Mr. Stewart and other superbosses to develop such an expansive network of protégés? They possess a rare combination of leadership traits.

1. They are extraordinarily intense and passionate about their work, and encourage others to adopt the same mindset.

2. They set high work standards that push learners to reach their potential.

3. They know how to motivate, inspire and assure people they can achieve more than they ever thought possible.

4. They enjoy being intimately involved in the work their people do, while feeling comfortable giving even unexperienced protégés important responsibilities; they don't mind taking risks that may appear foolish to outsiders.

5. They encourage loyalty and strong emotional bonds between protégés, and between protégés and themselves.

Although the environment of The Daily Show is fast-paced and packed with daily deadlines, the intense pressure performers face cultivated a culture of teamwork. Mr. Stewart became a beloved figure in the office, and his colleagues and employees were ready to defend him when needed.

For instance, after a 2010 article accused Mr. Stewart of creating a "boy's club," 30 female employees published an open letter describing their boss as "generous, humble, genuine, fair, supportive, exacting, stubborn, goofy, hands-on, driven, occasionally infuriating, ethical, down-to-earth." Dr. Finkelstein said these descriptions apply to many superbosses.

The affection Mr. Stewart's staff has for him goes both ways. "I love the people here," he said as he announced his pending retirement, according to HBR. "They're the best. They're creative and collaborative and kind."

Many people aspire for financial or professional success, always looking for ways they can get a step up in their careers. Superbosses like Mr. Stewart understand they can achieve both by focusing efforts to help others build their careers and reach their full potential.

Mr. Stewart's last Daily Show airs Aug. 6.

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