2019 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Lindred (Lindy) Greer, Stanford GSB

Lindred (Lindy) Greer

Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior

Stanford Graduate School of Business

The term “rockstar prof” might not be more applicable than when it is used to describe Stanford’s Lindred Greer. She has nearly 5,000 Google Scholar citations and rave reviews from students. In addition to teaching the core Groups and Teams course at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, she teaches the elective she developed, the Psychology of Start-up Teams. Her research into team dynamics and power structures has been featured in many prominent media outlets.

“I took Professor Lindred Greer’s course The Psychology of Start-Up Teams in the Spring quarter of my first year at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and found it to be the most valuable course that I took while at the GSB,” one student told us. “This is a bold statement, there are great classes at the GSB, but I stand behind it because it has been the most unforgettable class for me. It’s been almost a year since I took the class, and I still put into practice what I learned, daily. It is rare to have a class that talks practically about the high-level thinking of setting a purpose and a vision, as well as the nitty-gritty details of types of decision-making and which ones are red-flags. Yet, when building or joining a growing company, it is both the high level and the details that make or break it. Her research is not only innovative, but it’s also extremely useful.”

When she’s not researching or teaching, Greer can be found in pilates classes, running with her cavalier spaniel, and reading fantasy books.

Current Age: 37

At current institution since what year? 2013

Education: BS Economics, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D., Social & Organizational Psychology, Leiden University, The Netherlands

List of current MBA courses you currently teach: The Psychology of Start-up Teams; Managing Groups and Teams


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… As a Wharton undergrad, I fell in love with the power of business research to improve the human experience through bettering the lives of people at work and creating businesses that positively impact their communities.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I am fascinated by team design, especially in early-stage start-up teams. In my current favorite project, we (including my co-authors Nicole Abi-Esber and Charles Chu) show that the best performing start-up teams are not necessarily more hierarchical or more flat, but rather, engage in ‘hierarchical flexing’ – the teams can fluidly switch back and forth between being more hierarchical or more egalitarian, depending on task demands.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I would love executive coaching or running a start-up that provides a product to help improve team dynamics in companies.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I care. I care deeply about helping my students acquire the tools they need to achieve their dreams and be leaders who can make a positive difference in the world.

One word that describes my first-time teaching: Fun!

Professor you most admire and why: Professor Margaret Neale. Beyond her research revolutionizing the study of negotiation, her strength, and her unfailing fairness, she has also invested considerable energy in helping mentor and develop female and minority students and faculty, myself included. As one of her mentees said at her retirement party recently, “Maggie didn’t just do good research, she did good. Period.”


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? I love that I’m helping students who can immediately (or in the very near future) apply what we are talking about in class to real-world changes in themselves or their companies.

What is most challenging? Balancing differing student needs – some prefer more theoretical depth and tension and others prefer more practical applications and takeaways

Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious

Using just one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Disengaged


What are your hobbies? Pilates reformer classes, running (with my cavalier spaniel!), reading fantasy books (they often have interesting creative implications for organizational behavior!), traveling, and spending time with family

How will you spend your summer? Settling into my new (tenured!) role at the University of Michigan, spending time with my fabulous new colleagues, and exploring Ann Arbor.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: I love visiting new places each time! Favorite past spots have included Tuscany, Paris, Amsterdam, and Big Sur among others.

Favorite book(s): Middlemarch by George Eliot

What is your favorite movie and/or television show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? A recent favorite is The OA – I love the ideas it explores in the perceptual construction of reality and the possibility, building on Borge’s work as well as quantum mechanics, that our consciousness exists in ‘a garden of forking paths’.

Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist: Anything high energy and happy, such as The Chainsmokers


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Attention to the people side of entrepreneurship. Most start-ups go under because of people issues, but there are still too few courses and streams of research geared towards helping aspiring entrepreneurs acquire the skillsets they need to successfully navigate the psychological dynamics of scaling companies.

In your opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at doing what? Finding ways to creatively balance the competing demands for hierarchy and structure and flatness and empowering employees.

Faculty and administrators say:

“Lindy is a natural for the Best 40 Under 40 professors list of accomplished professionals in business schools. She is a pioneer in the research on teams and startups, and teaches a sought after course on teams in startups. She is a force multiplier who makes her students and collaborators better!” – Huggy Rao, Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

“Lindred Greer is an amazing teacher, mentor and scholar. Her work and commitment to her students has inspired me to want to continue learning, and fully engage with my classroom. Lindy has changed my life, and my relationship with my goals. Lindy is an amazing mentor and I cannot thank her enough for it. I know she deserves to be recognized for her hard work, and I know that I make a small difference by putting my vote in for her to be recognized. I have the utmost respect for Lindy, and my classmates (who told me about this award) agree, too, that Lindy’s presence on the faculty is a tremendous blessing.”

“One of my favorite activities is writing award recommendations for Lindred Greer since it is one of the few ways I can begin to repay her for the impact she has had on my life and my classmates. Lindy teaches in novel ways that replicate this real-life emotion in her class through hands-on exercises that highlight struggles found in startup teams. For example, to replicate the challenges presented by remote teams, groups of students had to complete a map where the only means of communication was via a walky-talky, and each part of the team only held some of the pieces of the puzzle. Her class is one of the most popular electives at Stanford and was a finalist for the best new entrepreneurship course from the Academy of Management. She is a popular advisor in the Stanford community for many startups looking for help on the regular people problems they face and regularly helps VC companies with their portfolio companies. She is a leading researching the area of diversity and teams (over 4,000 citations and multiple best paper awards) and her research has changed the way my startup recruits to be more inclusive.”


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