For some of us, reading is an opportunity to expand our knowledge.
President Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Research into whether leaders like to read books shows us that the top leaders who innovate and influence the world are people who devote time to read a variety of books. Bill Gates is said to read 50 books a year. Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Cuban, Warren Buffet, and many other leaders are all avid book readers.
We know that effective leaders are often driven to lead by an innate desire to make things better, both the working conditions and opportunities presented before their workers and the performance of a company more generally. When you’re driven internally by such desires, it’s only natural that your reading habits would spill into the genre of personal and professional development.
But how do we wade through the noise and pick out the books that will really help us to enhance our leadership and development skills?
To help, we’ve researched the top 5 leadership development books. You’ll see these works listed on countless recommended leadership reading lists across the internet.
1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
The more you lead the busier you get. You might find yourself struggling to achieve everything you know you are capable of because of old habits. You might wonder if they’re all necessary.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will help you wade through the noise, abandon old habits and employ new ones to become the best leader you can be. You’ll get more done in a fraction of the time.
This book was named one of the two most influential books of all time by CEO Magazine.
The 7 habits identified will help you in all aspects of your life. It’s accessible, actionable, and practical, so you won’t be bogged down with pointless, page-filling advice that does not apply to you.
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Leading isn’t just about driving profits. A huge amount of what you do is about influencing others. To be better. To try harder. To agree with your methods and to use their own skills to help you achieve your objectives.
You might have avoided How to Win Friends and Influence People because you might be under the impression you already know this stuff. How else would you have found yourself in a leadership position?
But you might be forgetting a few small but important methods of influence that could transform your leadership methods and make your life much easier.
When was the last time you praised someone? Now, when was the last time you acknowledged you had made a mistake? We’d guess you do it far less frequently. But acknowledging your mistakes is one of the best ways to disarm others and create an atmosphere of agreeability.
You’ll find this, and other timeless nuggets of advice, in How To Win Friends and Influence People.
3. The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo
The Making of a Manager was the first book written by Julie Zhuo, VP of Product Design at Facebook, who was promoted over her colleagues to manager at age 25. In “The Making of a Manager”, Julie shares her experiences about her changeover from being a personal contributor to becoming a manager.
She wrote the book she wished she’d had on day one. That makes this book perfect for anyone who is new to leadership or working towards a promotion into management. “The Making of a Manager” give us an honest, and raw account of what it means to be manager and how to best transition into a managerial role.
New to the job or a veteran, The Making of a Manager is a highly recommended book for those who want to become a better leader.
4. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown was a New York Times bestseller and has over 68,000 reviews on Goodreads. The book dives deep into the characteristics of brave leaders to teach readers how to lead with a fearlessness we all wish we had.
It talks through four key skills; rumbling with vulnerability, living your values, braving trust, and learning to rise.
5. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is a leader with a massive social media following. His TED Talk on this subject is the third most viewed TED Talk ever. If you haven’t watched it, we recommend you do.
His book, Start With Why, follows the same theme as his talk, and will help you to reassess what you’re doing at work and why. You’ll learn how to inspire people to act and how to stop making flawed assumptions about what is driving your business.
Simon proposes that knowing why you are doing something – rather than just what you are doing and how you are doing it – is the key to long lasting success and growth.
All the mentioned recommended books within this blog appear on many leadership-development recommended read lists
We hope you’ll enjoy our researched list of the top leadership and development books on the market.
Reading is an important activity. No business leader can gain the abundance of experience and comprehension they want for fulfillment and success in one lifetime. Reading allows you to delve into the minds of leaders who came before you and to learn from their mistakes without experiencing all those obstacles first-hand.
Bill Gates has said, “Every book teaches me something new or helps me see things differently. I was lucky to have parents who encouraged me to read. Reading fuels a sense of curiosity about the world, which I think helped drive me forward in my career and in the work that I do now with my foundation.”
If you’re looking for leadership coaching, John Behr Group can help you. Dr John Behr, executive coach with 25 years of executive coaching experience works to accelerate the growth of global leaders and senior executives through one-on-one coaching and executive assessments.
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