Leadersmithing: Revealing the Trade Secrets of Leadership is an excellent practical resource on leadership. Right from the beginning, Eve Poole distinguishes this book from several others on the subject by identifying eight important stakeholders in the leadership ecosystem. These include leaders in training; learning and development practitioners; executive coaches; weary leaders; talents; leaders in transition; and other stakeholders . Obviously each one of these individuals contribute to leadership in significant ways in organizations all over the world, and need to be equipped with tools for their unique calling.
The book is about preparing for leadership from a theoretical and practical standpoint. It cautions right from the onset that “if you still think it is somehow cool to wing it, sack yourself now [emphasis added]” . Poole observes that there are seventeen “critical incidents” anyone aspiring for leadership must master to make their leadership worthwhile. These include executing tasks courageously; decisiveness; change management; risk management; and several other leadership traits.
Using the analogy of apprenticeships. Poole shows how this used to be the main way to entering a trade in the England. Needless to say, apprenticeship was also an important part of the industrial landscape in many parts of the world. Indeed vocational training and apprenticeships are still an integral part of the educational systems of Germany and Switzerland, two countries recognized for excellence in science and technology. Therefore, it seems that an important question the book sets out to answer is, if apprenticeship is so important in gaining mastery in the trades, how may this be contextualized in the craft of leadership? As part of the response, the author comes up with the term Leadersmithing, alluding to a similarity with goldsmithing, blacksmithing and other important vocations.
I agree with Poole in several points offered in this book. For example, she notes that “in a country where 21 percent of 18-24 year olds are unemployed, our culture of overworking is having devastating consequences.” This resonates with me because in my opinion, the paradox of some individuals overworking, while a significant portion of others are unemployed, does not make sense. It leaves society with losers on both ends. Individuals who lack a work-life balance due to overworking, contribute to the already alarming levels of mental disorder in our societies. Their imbalanced lifestyles affect their families, colleagues, and other stakeholders in the social ecosystem. Similarly, the unemployed might also have significant stress levels, especially in contexts where they are expected to be breadwinners for their families and cannot meet this expectation due to lack of jobs. Unfortunately, in some cases,99999 the unemployed feel pressured to crime, thereby further complicating an already very bad situation. The question is what if overworked, weary leaders globally would empower others, whether existing or new staff, and delegate their extra responsibilities to them (this is one of the critical incidents Poole suggests)? The multiplier effect could include less stress and more energy for the weary leader, in addition to professional growth, job security, a healthier self esteem or other benefits for an existing or new employee. In other words, the world would be a better place. Indeed Leadersmithing is filled with life-giving suggestions for leadership that could benefit all kinds of contexts, from the family to the presidency.
 Poole, Eve. Leadersmithing: Revealing the Trade Secrets of Leadership. (Bloomsbury Business: London, 2017) location 55.
 Poole, Leadersmithing, p.29
 Ibid. p.10
 Ibid, p.59
 Ibid. p.31