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REVIEWS

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Your leadership apprenticeship What did business leaders wish they had known when they took on the top job? Liz Mellon found out

Leadersmithing: Revealing the Trade Secrets of Leadership Eve Poole Bloomsbury www.bit.ly/ leadersmith

learning, because – as she No leader is job-ready when points out – who has 10,000 they arrive. However well hours to spare when you are they rehearse, and however trying to run a business? close the dress rehearsal to Poole offers advice on the real thing, the first night how to develop effective and all the following nights strategies for honing each are richly different – an of the 17 job requirements, evolving tale. with down-to-earth This very useful book exercises designed to help aims to help executives the budding leader complete rehearse as well as they the apprenticeship before possibly can for the the job starts. top job, to minimize Just because the advice the personal pain of is grounded and pragmatic transition, and to maximize doesn’t mean that this will organizational effectiveness. be an easy apprenticeship. Leadersmithing regards To start with, you will need leadership as an to want the job, because if apprenticeship, a chance to you think that getting the learn by practising early all job is hard, doing it is the skills that the top even harder. job requires. The nascent leader will Author Eve Poole starts have to ask for feedback that by demystifying leadership may be unpalatable, deal and turning the position This very useful book into a pragmatic job aims to help executives with poor performers and continue to influence, rather description. This in itself rehearse as well as they than command, others. If is helpful, as there is very you want the top job, you little written about what the possibly can for the top job will have to be prepared to C-level job actually entails. have the courage to step The theory comprises out into the unknown and to take risks. Among the first half of the book, based on research that other things, your apprenticeship requires brutal asked chief executives what they wish they had known when they took on the job. She identifies self-honesty and lots of practice. This book provides you with a clearer roadmap for the hard no fewer than 17 job requirements, and spells work of preparation. each out in some detail. There is also a chapter This is an easy and enjoyable read. Poole on character, which I was personally pleased bounces the reader along the storyline, with to see. Leadership is such a powerful position, erudite references alongside amusing and which can so easily be used for evil rather than practical anecdotes. Machiavelli’s The Prince good. Good character forms the basis of features alongside The Wizard of Oz. good leadership. Because the book is designed to be read in The second half of the book is entirely different ways, it is a helpful guide – whether practical. Poole counters the notion that 10,000 you are a young leader, or already only a breath hours of practice builds expertise (K Anders away from being the most senior. Based on Ericsson, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in a mixture of research and experience, it is a his book Outliers). She offers a cheat-sheet of trustworthy guide. activities that enable the leader to accelerate

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Dialogue Q3 2017