Want to be a better leader? Find and follow the people who are recognized leadership experts and management authorities to learn strategies, tips, advice, and visionary ideas for bringing the best principles to work in your life and career.
1. Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Kanter, who holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, is a leader who guides leaders through teaching, writing, and consulting. with a focus on innovation and leadership for change and sustainable enterprises.
Kanter’s book SuperCorp takes information gleaned from interviews with 350 people at key corporations around the world to show that “the businesses that are agile, keeping ahead of the curve in terms of market changes and customer needs, are the businesses that are also progressive, socially responsible human communities.”
2. Lynda Gratton
Gratton is author of The Shift, a book “for anyone keen to take charge of the future of their work.” Gratton focuses on the intersection of people and organizations and directs a premier program on human resources, ‘Human Resource Strategy in Transforming Companies,’ at London Business School.
Gratton is the founder of the Hot Spots Movement, a unique research consultancy that takes academic research and uses that data to come up with business solutions.
3. Daniel Burrus
Burrus, the author of six books and the Strategic Insights blog, is known for his visionary business strategy and focus on anticipatory, rather than reactive, change for business organizations. He writes and consults on technology trends, business strategy, and innovation. Burrus, known as technology futurist, is considered one of the leading forecasters of technology trends, and is a leading consultant to Google.
4. Jeff Haden
Speaker, columnist, and ghostwriter of more than 40 non-fiction books, Haden is an expert in management and leadership, having worked his way up through the ranks to become a respected expert on leadership, management, and small business. Haden is charmingly self-deprecating, saying things like, “[I am a] LinkedIn Influencer (the only time I’ll ever appear on the same list as Richard Branson).”
5. Rieva Lesonsky
Lesonsky, well-known business expert, is the force behind GrowBiz Media and SmallBizDaily.com. Thousands turn to her for up-to-date insight on business trends, management insight, and leadership lessons. Lesonsky is very active and approachable on social media, and provides a mix of encouragement and tough questions for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and other leaders.
6. Anita Campbell
Campbell, a lawyer by training, ventured from the legal world into writing, publishing, and speaking on leadership, small business, and management with great success. She is a Forbes Top Influential Woman for Entrepreneurs, CEO of BizSugar, small business analyst, speaker, and CEO of Small Business Trends. Campbell keeps leaders and business managers up-to-date with business news and forecasts as well as practical content marketing and social media advice.
7. Barbara Corcoran
Easily recognizable from her ongoing role on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” Corcoran is a real estate mogul and businesswoman as well as an investor, speaker, consultant, columnist, and author. She’s a master of making much out of little, turning $1000 into millions in real estate, and she shares bold insights on seeing talent and innovation everywhere. Corcoran’s website states that her “credentials include straight D’s in high school and college and twenty jobs by the time she turned twenty-three.” Her candor and approachability make her a business mogul that everybody wants to be friends with.
8. Ram Charan
Charan went from working in his family’s shoe shop in Northern India, to earning an engineering degree, to working in Australia, to earning an MBA and doctorate from Harvard Business School, to his current role as a full-time consultant to CEOs of major corporations. Charan has a gift for getting through complex problems to the simple root, and providing practical ways to deal with the root of each problem.
He puts a lot of emphasis on doing what you need to do: “Execution is the job of the business leader…[and it is] is a systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability.”
9. Tim Ferriss
Before authoring the insanely popular book The 4-Hour Workweek, Ferriss founded a nutritional supplements company. Now known for his experiments with and books on lifestyle design and productivity, Ferriss is also well-known as a start-up angel investor, consultant, entrepreneur, speaker, and blogger. Ferriss has gone on to apply his 4-hour methodology to, oh, just about everything, with his books The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef. We think next it might be The 4-Hour Marriage?
10. Robin Sharma
Leadership expert and writer Robin Sharma began his career as a judicial law clerk, then staff litigation attorney for the Canadian government. He is a popular motivational speaker and founder of Sharma Leadership International Inc., with a focus on holistic leadership for business and personal life.
One of the quotes he attributes to ‘changing his life’ is this one from Ayn Rand: “Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world–to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.”
11. Jim Collins
Stanford faculty turned best-selling author, Jim Collins has produced several management and leadership classics, including Good to Great, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fall. He founded a management laboratory and is known for research, innovative thinking, and problem-solving for a variety of business consultancies and leadership positions. Collins is one of the old-school but forward-thinking combinations who doesn’t spend a whole lot of time fiddling with social media or building an “online presence.” Why would he need one? He’s already build a real-world presence.
12. Tom Peters
Peters is a business management expert, author of 17 books, speaker, and writer. His book In Search of Excellence, which profiles 43 companies and presents 8 principles that have made the companies successful, is an essential business read, touted by NPR as one of the “Top Three Business Books of the Century” in 1999. Peters is very active on Twitter and frequently updates his blog, plus has a variety of manifestos and archives of his newspaper column available on his website.
13. Tony Dungy
Former NFL coach Tony Dungy set NFL records by leading his teams to the playoffs for ten consecutive years and serving as the most successful coach in the history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dungy took the principles of leadership he learned in his life and coaching career and authored bestselling books Uncommon and Quiet Strength. His focus is on helping others develop the attitudes and abilities that are possible for anyone, but uncommon in our culture. Dungy is the father of nine children, and he and his wife, Lauren, just wrote a book called Uncommon Marriage.
14. Sydney Finkelstein
Finkelstein, associate dean, professor, and author, focuses on what might be called the negative side of leadership: mistakes that leaders make, and how these mistakes ultimately lead to failure, either of the leaders as individuals and/or of the companies that they lead. His research and insights help other leaders and managers to avoid failure. “Failing executives,” says Finkelstein, “continue to rely on the same formulas and ideas that brought them success.”
15. Deepak Chopra
Prolific author and speaker Chopra is a licensed physician who advocates a holistic approach to life, leadership, and management of one’s health and self. His book Super Brain discusses ways to untap the potential of the brain. Chopra’s Workplace Wellbeing programs help carry his wisdom to the business world. Chopra has written dozens of books. Time magazine put Chopra in he top 100 heroes and icons of the century, calling him “the poet-prophet of alternative medicine.”
16. Orrin Woodward
Woodward is a bestselling author and cofounder of LIFE Leadership. He focuses on team leadership and leader-led, principle-based growth for businesses. His book LeaderShift, told in parable style, examines principles for renewing leadership and vision in business and personal lives. Woodward offers straightforward advice to leaders, such as “Leaders always choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong,” and “Success is on the other side of your comfort zone.”
17. Simon Sinek
Sinek’s mission is to wake people up to “the possibility in their own lives,” and equip them to lead by knowing why they lead and what true leadership is. His book Start With Why and immensely popular TED presentations have garnered him a large following. Sinek’s idea of a “golden circle” spun his first TEDx talk, for Puget Sound, into a video with millions of view and then into a movement. His most recent book, Leaders Eat Last, articulates his vision for carrying your why into leadership.
18. Nicholas Bate
After working for years in sales and marketing in the IT industry, Bate founded Strategic Edge, a business consultancy. He is the author of 20 books, including Instant MBA, Being the Best, Do What You Want, You, Only Better, and Get a Life. His focus is on practical actions and bold steps to a better life and more effective leadership. Bate’s blog is a punchy form of communication filled with one-liners, deep thoughts, and lists. Lots and lots of lists. Bate uses lists to spark ideas, spur action, and give his readers a scannable step-by-step guide on everything from being bold to being more intelligent to handling email.
19. Margaret Wheatley
Wheatley began her career as a teacher and then an educational administrator, but since 1973 has been a consultant and speaker with an emphasis on systems thinking and organizational behavior. She is the author of Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time and Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World as well as other books, articles, and research. Wheatley has a special gift for looking outside of established systems, “beyond the Western, mechanical view of the world” and applying an understanding of what she calls “living systems theories” to the conundrums of business, innovation, organizations, and management.
20. Robert B. Cialdini
Cialdini is a widely recognized expert on social psychology and the author of Influence: Science and Practice and Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, which are “the result of years of study into the reasons that people comply with requests in business and other settings.” Cialdini’s “Six Principles of Influence,” also known as the “Six Weapons of Influence” have been hugely influential in the fields of leadership and management, helping leaders to understand not only how to lead, but how to make people want to follow.
Featured photo credit: Businessman looking at city through window via shutterstock.com
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