Readers are leaders and leaders are readers. We’ve heard it since elementary school. While it may seem trite, it’s true. The best leaders I know read and study leadership. They read about other leaders, they read about ideas, they read about theories…they read about everything. There is a diverse mix of books on my leadership bookshelf – some old favorites and some brand new reads. All are useful to my development as a transformational leader, Here are a few of the favorites on my shelf.
The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
This is the gold standard of leadership books. Kouzes and Posner combine both practical knowledge with their years of research on leadership to form their model of leadership – the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. The five practices are: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. Developing these leadership skills develops leaders.
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
Her 2011 Ted Talk on vulnerability was only the beginning for Brene Brown. She is one of the best known authors on vulnerability, leadership, and relationships. With many best sellers to her credit, Brown has successfully moved her career from the academy to the global market. Dare to Lead is the latest edition from Brown’s pen, and it’s as strong as the others. Providing an extra push for leaders, this book is perfect for those needing encouragement and confidence to continue along this leadership journey.
Lead From the Heart by Mark Crowley
Crowley’s book is an easy read. He shares the story of his life and how he rose from scared child to transformational leader. Crowley shares significant facts and data about employee motivation, but I found his discussion of the way the heart “thinks” to be profoundly interesting. According to Crowley, engaging the heart of employees is the key to leadership success.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
If the heart has a brain, Bradberry and Greaves book about emotional intelligence makes people aware of how to use it. Emotional intelligence is far more than controlling one’s emotions. It calls for an understanding of how thoughts and emotions interact and an awareness of triggers and effects of one’s own emotions.
The Politically Intelligent Leader by Patricia Clark White
Dr. Pat White was instrumental in designing the Doctorate in Organizational Leadership program from which I graduated. When a professor requires their own book for a course, I usually roll my eyes, assuming its a method for boosting book sales. Dr. White’s book is the exception. Her vast experience in leadership allows Pat White to draw upon personal examples to illustrate the struggle between competing priorities and personalities within organizations to guide leaders in understanding how to develop and utilize their political capital.
The next books on my shelf will be Tribes by Seth Godin and Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader by Herminia Ibarra. Neither book is new, but both offer continued opportunity for development along my leadership journey.