The New York Times | 06.20.14

Are Traasdahl, CEO of Tapad, On Empowering Employees

By Adam Bryant

This interview with Are Traasdahl, the chief executive of the advertising firm Tapad, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.

Q. Were you in entrepreneurial or leadership roles when you were younger?

A. I grew up in a small city of less than 5,000 people in Norway. When I was around 15, my soccer coach asked me to be the captain of the team, even though I was a mediocre player. I remember vividly that I had to change my perspective, because now it was my job to pull the entire team together.

The coach was famous in Norway, and he also taught me his “better leg” theory. The concept is that everybody is better at something on the soccer field, and you need to understand what all your teammates are fabulous at — what their better leg is — so that you can put them in a situation where they can use their best skill. It works the other way around, too, with people focusing on how to make you better. It stuck with me. It’s the same as being a C.E.O. You always want to understand what people are good at and then put them in a position to succeed.

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