Leadership Step by Step
By Joshua Spodek
Great leaders aren’t born with a ‘leadership gene’; great leaders develop the necessary skills and gain confidence through practice and hard work. In Leadership Step by Step Joshua Spodek presents a thoughtful approach to becoming a highly effective leader that emphasizes the importance of experiential learning. It will serve as a valuable resource for leaders at all levels in any profession. Indeed, Joshua’s practical exercises will help prospective, as well as experienced leaders, to master their craft and ultimately to succeed in leading and inspiring others in their various pursuits.
General Lloyd J. Austin III, United States Secretary of Defense
Joshua is changing the game for leadership development and creating positive change. His insight to give a progression of exercises to practice is a once-in-a-lifetime game-changing advance in our field everyone else will follow. It’s better than business school courses because he has you create real positive change that lasts. Leadership is about doing, not just understanding, and Joshua’s exercises give you both. Leadership Step by Step gets it. Do its exercises and you will too. If you like my style, get coaching from me or buy Joshua’s book.
Marshall Goldsmith, 2015 #1 Leadership Thinker and #1 Executive Coach in the World. NY Times #1 bestselling author of Triggers
In LEADERSHIP STEP BY STEP, Joshua Spodek fills the gap between education and experience for potential leaders. By treating leadership like the art it is, he imbues it with empathy and understanding. This is a book that will improve your business savvy and possibly, your life.
Daniel H. Pink, author of DRIVE and A WHOLE NEW MIND
This book doesn’t matter so much, but what you choose to do with it means everything. A hands on, useful, urgent book about leveling up as a leader.
Seth Godin, bestselling author and founder of altMBA
Leadership Step by Step offers that rare breed of learning—genuine, authentic, effective, engaging, and, most of all, fun. It is based on the best leadership philosophy and practice.
The results of doing its exercises insure that you will become an authentic, great leader, able to serve and to live to the best of your ability. Anyone who aspires to lead, to lead more effectively, or to live life to its fullest would benefit from Joshua’s exercises. This is true for business, public service, the social sector, the arts, education, and any sphere where leaders serve.
Frances Hesselbein, Presidential Medal of Freedom Honoree, CEO of Girl Scouts, named “Best leader in America” by Peter Drucker
This is practical leadership training made perfect. Bravo!
Booklist, starred review
Of all the hundreds of leadership books that cross my desk each year, Josh Spodek’s LEADERSHIP STEP BY STEP is by far the most practical. Lots of leadership writers tell stories and relate inspiring examples, and so does Josh. But what makes LEADERSHIP STEP BY STEP different are the exercises. If you believe, as I do, that leadership is a skill you need to practice and not just an attribute you’re endowed with at birth, then you’ll immediately see the wisdom in Josh’s approach. And if you work his exercises into your own leadership journey, I promise you’ll emerge as a better leader.
Eric Schurenberg, Inc. Media President and Editor-in-Chief
The art of leadership, like so many other skills, must be learned “hands-on” and through experiences, rather than from business school lectures and abstract analysis. Joshua Spodek has written a great book that takes future leaders through the essential steps of learning to lead. Essential reading for aspiring leaders in any field.
Tony Wagner, bestselling author of CREATING INNOVATORS and THE GLOBAL ACHIEVEMENT GAP, Expert-In-Residence at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab and Senior Research Fellow at the Learning Policy Institute
In a fresh approach to the topic, Josh Spodek guides his readers on an experiential journey, through a progression of exercises that reveal the inner psychology of leadership and that impart critical skills.
Michael W. Morris, Chavkin-Chang Chair, Professor of Leadership, and founder of the Leadership Lab at Columbia Business School
There are thousands of leadership books published each year. Most are NOT very helpful. Joshua Spodek’s book deserves to break through the clutter. Rather than the usual focus on leadership techniques, this book gets to the holy grail of leading and motivating by helping readers understand themselves and how they land on people.
Michael Feiner, President of Michael C. Feiner Consulting, author of The Feiner Points of Leadership, formerly professor at Columbia Business School and Chief People Officer worldwide at Pepsi-Cola Co.
Refreshingly different and thoroughly practical, Leadership Step by Step serves up valuable tools for readers to build their own path to development. The book weaves back and forth between brief, engaging stories and seemingly simple exercises. But the cumulative effect can be profound, helping readers focus on and sometimes rewrite their own habits of thought and action that were previously invisible.
Daniel Ames, Columbia Business School Professor, Management Division
Our nation and indeed the world are in desperate need for genuine authentic leadership to solve pressing problems. Using his experience at NYU with instilling passion and dedication into students through active experiential learning, Joshua has created a how-to guide to leadership development. It is a book every educator should read.
Paul Horn, NYU Senior Vice Provost for Research and Senior Vice Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Entrepreneurship, formerly Senior Vice President and Executive Director of research at IBM, where he oversaw Deep Blue and helped initiate Watson
For years acclaimed NYU professor and executive coach Joshua Spodek was frustrated by the existing literature on leadership. Countless fact-filled books described the subject, but not one actually explained how to become a great leader. Now based on years of teaching experience, Spodek has produced the first systematic manual designed to hone great leadership. Filled with personal insights and detailed daily exercises, LEADERSHIP STEP BY STEP is a vital resource for anyone interested in leading other people.
David Lefer, Industry Professor and Director of the Innovation and Technology Forum at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, co-author of They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engineer, Two Hundred Years of Innovators.
Packed with dozens of thought-provoking exercises that will help you develop the self-awareness and sensitivity to take your leadership game to a new level.
Caroline Webb, author How to Have a Good Day, CEO and founder of Sevenshift, Senior Advisor and Former Partner, McKinsey
Joshua Spodek has written a very important book distilling universal leadership principles into practical exercises that anyone can do and internalize. Rarely is leadership taught practically, often remaining theoretical, still needing decades of hands-on experience. His practical approach accelerates the process of self-discovery, quickly creating a much more effective mindset and view on ourselves and others.
My experience in McKinsey serving top CEOs, to becoming a CEO and scaling a global Internet startup with hundreds of employees in 4 Asian regions, to launching high achieving teams across Europe, shows me the timeless value and universal, underlying principles behind Joshua’s exercises. Do them seriously and you will significantly improve your personal and professional leadership.
All of this experience in simple (yet not easy!) exercises that anyone can use throughout their career—as athletes and musicians improve their performance with the same effective drills over their careers—is refreshing and valuable.
Jose Gaztelu, Managing Director, Houzz.com, former CEO Zalora Group Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Thailand
Being an effective leader is not just about having a vision, it’s about bringing others along with you to achieve that vision. From the very first lesson in Leadership Step by Step, this book sets a tone of simple, self-exploration that tackles this very challenge – not just through high-level concepts, but through methodical, targeted lessons that are both tactical and results-oriented. This book takes leadership from theory to reality – though to achieve the desired results requires effort, and practice, on the part of the reader.
As a student, I was keenly aware that I was getting out exactly what I put into this course. Each lesson builds on the last in a progressive way – focused on small, yet impactful, actions.
I recommend Leadership Step by Step to anyone currently in or on the cusp of a leadership role in their career. It’s for those who take leadership seriously and who know that being an effective, successful leader isn’t something that happens by chance or because of natural abilities alone. These skills can be (must be) learned and thoughtfully honed. This book is a beautifully crafted guide through that process.
Bethany Hale, Associate Partner, IBM
You learn to lead by leading, not just by reading, and LEADERSHIP STEP BY STEP gives you direction to learn by doing. I’ve coached thousands of people over the past decade, and the ones who progress are the ones that get off their duff and act. If you’re willing to work but are struggling to find a starting point, Joshua presents a simple structure of what to do to improve yourself as a leader. Get the book and do the exercises. It really is that simple.
Jordan Harbinger, Co-Founder and host, The Art of Charm
Josh has created the future of leadership development. Simple as that. People call me a “superconnector”… And my business naturally puts me in front of a lot of CEOs, founders, and new executives in charge of suddenly growing businesses (exciting!) who desperately need skills with people and teams beyond what they have (anxiety!). After all, one of the first things they learn is that sales and more revenue doesn’t solve all problems… So they go out looking for leadership training, only to find inspirational books and ideas on leadership… that would be like trying to learn to play the piano by reading about playing the piano. Doesn’t work. There are countless “this one trick” or “get rich quick” schemes that do almost nothing in the long term.
You can’t skip experience, without lots of lost profits, productivity, and worst of all, reputation.
Josh created something I’ve never seen before: a program to give that experience, efficiently and without waste, to create GENUINE LEADERSHIP SKILLS. His exercises aren’t tricks, they’re what leaders ACTUALLY learn from. It’s so simple and so effective, I can’t believe no one had done this before. Leadership Step by Step will save you years of struggle and make you more successful — in business and life!
David Gonzalez, Founder, Simply The Coolest, LLC
Joshua’s book clearly articulates the power and value of empathy to not only lead, but motivate. An important fresh look at leadership, because insecurity and anger are powerful but toxic propellants that, unfortunately, many leaders lead with.
B. Jeffrey Madoff, director, photographer, writer, professor, and founder and CEO of Madoff Productions, Webby award winning producer for Victoria Secret.
Many leadership books leave the reader with more questions than answers. This is book provides not only answers, but actionable insights that can be applied immediately. If you want to become a more effective leader, read this book.
Srinivas Rao, host and co-founder of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast and bestselling author of Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best and The Art of Being Unmistakable
Leadership Step by Step has you actually DO things, so you learn at the same time you lead people in your life and work. As young entrepreneurs, we hustle. We don’t have time to read theory that doesn’t connect with what we actually do. We’re busy building! We see too many people caught up in analyzing and preparing and not actually making progress. You’ll learn faster and deeper with Joshua’s book than in any classroom or most other books… and you’ll get things done. If you want to lead real people in real life on real projects, do Joshua’s exercises.
Corianna (Coco) and Brianna (Breezy) Dotson, founders Coco & Breezy
Leadership Step By Step begins by asking, simply: why don’t the world’s best leaders come out of the world’s top leadership programs? Because the way we teach leadership, it turns out, is out of sync with how people learn, perform, and develop mastery!
Joshua Spodek fixes that error, breaking the skill, art, and science of leadership into a series of exercises that guide you to lead people, teams, and yourself beyond what you thought possible. If you want to become a better, more powerful, more empathic, more understanding leader—to take a great leap forward in your leadership journey, both personally and professionally—I could not recommend this book any higher.
Zac Hill, Chief Innovation Officer, The Future Project
Driven by exercises ultimately designed to help you understand and actually change your emotions, beliefs, and behaviors – then connecting this towards influencing others… Joshua Spodek’s new book accomplishes what no other leadership book has done before. And those are doable steps that compound towards actual leadership. These aren’t easy, and take courage and discipline, but they are doable and they can’t help but make the reader a more effective leader.
Michael Lovitch, Founding Partner, the Baby Bathwater Institute
With Leadership Step by Step, Joshua Spodek has created a thoughtful, practical guide for improving your leadership skills by asking us to think deeply about who we are and how our personal beliefs and actions create our leadership qualities. Spodek doesn’t tell us what to think or how to lead, but rather creates a series of thoughtful activities to push us to examine ourselves. At the heart of this book is the idea that to be a better leader, we have to be better people, and this book is a guide for anyone seeking to understand that relationship. It is an important book that can help us all.
Chris Lehmann, founder of Science Leadership Academy and co-author of Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need
Having worked in both business and government, it is clear that leaders who succeed inspire by connecting a vision with experience. Joshua’s methodology gives you those skills. They are simple and work to teach you to lead with experience, not just academic or theoretical knowledge. Together they work as greater than the sum of their parts. They will help you get ahead, whether starting your career, getting promoted to a leadership role, or starting your own venture.
James Prusky, partner and co-founder, Crecera Finance Company
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