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How to Build a Better Leader

While we often repeat Malcolm Gladwell's premise, in Outliers, that it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at something, we rarely apply that idea to soft skills - like leadership. And that is quite possibly why we have such a tough time cultivating leaders in our organizations. Joshua Spodek, author of the bestselling Leadership Step by Step: Become the Person Others Follow likens leadership skill to an athlete's or an actor's skill. You must participate, you must start small and perfect different aspects of the craft, you must put yourself in situations beyond your comfort zone to really explore and understand your capabilities. You aren't simply "gifted" the title (or skill) of leader. Tom Brady recently led his team to a 5th Super Bowl win. But he didn't join the Patriots as a leader. In fact, he was a sixth-round draft pick (the 199th player to be picked!) and, when he joined the team, he was one of four quarterbacks (that's two too-many by most NFL team standards). Luckily, Brady was able to hone his skills (both athletic and leadership) while out of the spotlight - the rest is history.
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