On this page, I’ve listed and described a number of excellent leadership books that I have personally found to be clear, easy to digest, and extremely helpful to me as I developed as a leader. The selections here provide simple, clear frameworks for thinking, organizing, and acting, and I have found myself coming back to these works again and again over the years because what they discuss and the tools they provide are so elemental to the art of leadership. I hope you find them to be equally useful to you on your leadership journey.
* note/disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Amazon.com for these books, so I would receive a small compensation for any purchases you made on Amazon when going via the links provided. You certainly don’t have to go via these links, but I appreciate it and thank you if you do. The only way a book will ever appear here is if I have read, understood, used, and found it to be very helpful as a leadership tool. Consequently the selection here will be fairly slim, but I hope eminently satisfying! Let me know what you think…
This is an all-time favorite of mine, and another one I find myself returning to reference time and time again. Author Stephen R. Covey’s work outlines seven key habits that make people masters of themselves. Taking the approach that our character is essentially the result of the many habits we fall into every day, Dr. Covey shows how you can improve yourself by changing your habits and adopting the patterns of successful people.
And while the title mig[imageframe lightbox=”no” style_type=”border” bordercolor=”#000000″ bordersize=”5px” stylecolor=”” align=”left” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][/imageframe]ht suggest that the book is about personal improvement, it is very easy to see how what Dr. Covey talks about translates directly into a course in applied leadership not just of self, but of teams and organizations. During a recent deployment to the Middle East, my Army team and I drilled a number of these habits into ourselves in the effort to do our job right. As foreigners in a strange land, we spent a lot of time focusing on habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood. Doing so paid great dividends in our effort to connect with the people of a different culture and help produce a safe environment for them.
This book was a number one National Bestseller, has over 20 million copies in print, and is filled with excellent illustrative examples from all walks of life and plenty of simple charts and diagrams that reinforce its written message. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is not a quick read, but it is captivating, and one that you can steadily absorb and apply in all aspects of your life. And in doing so, I am certain you will become not only a better leader, but a better person, too.
I first picked up this little book in December of 1985 and loved it immediately. Don’t be deceived by its small size, it’s packed with very practical leadership tools that you can put to use immediately. Written as a parable by Kenneth Blanchard, Ph.D. and Spencer Johnson, M. D., the book follows a young man as he interviews a succession of people in a high-performing organization and learns what makes them successful. Instead of encountering the expected domineering autocratic leadership style, he finds a series of very effective leaders who lead people through empowerment.
[imageframe lightbox=”no” style_type=”border” bordercolor=”#000000″ bordersize=”5px” stylecolor=”” align=”left” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][/imageframe]By making goals that are crystal clear, by focusing on reinforcing good behavior instead of zeroing in on the bad, and by making corrections that focus on fixing the behavior instead of the person, the authors outline an effective way to lead people positively. They provide clear, step-by-step instructions about what to do and how to do it, and include interesting results from several studies to explain why their method is so effective.
I can’t claim to have perfected doing all these techniques in only one minute, but the technique is sound, and following it will help you focus on what is important as you interact with your team. The One Minute Manager
was a national best seller when it came out, and it remains a highly popular and easy read – and a great tool for new leaders to use to get started on the right foot.