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10 Books You Must Read to Strengthen Your Leadership Skills

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10 Books You Must Read to Strengthen Your Leadership Skills

Whether we disagree with their leadership styles or not, all true leaders have one thing in common. They are naturally curious people who are life-long learners, and they satiate their need for knowledge through reading books. If you are interested in bettering your leadership skills, you may wish to add reading to your list of daily habits. Better yet, you should considering adding these 10 books to your reading list. They are certain to help you boost your leadership skills quickly.

 1. The Leader Who had no Title – Robin Sharma

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    Robin Sharma has worked as a leadership consultant for multiple fortune 500 companies. In this book, he teaches his readers what he has taught employees at major corporations for years. This is an amazing book if you are ready to tear down the barriers of what a leader should be and who can become a leader. Did you know that you don’t need an official title to be a leader? You don’t even need people working underneath you. The author explains in detail how you can build the emotional and mental strength, among other personal traits (including compassion and purpose), to lead and influence people no matter where you are in your career path.

    1. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 – Travis Bradberry
      Emotional-Intelligence
        You won’t find too many motivational books that include a testimonial by the Dalai Lama. Of course, that is only one reason to add this book to your reading list. You have probably heard of emotional intelligence. It is a measurement of your EQ that tells you how well you function and relate to others on an emotional level. The higher your EQ, the better you are able to lead others by becoming a more empathetic, socially aware individual.
      •  The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John C. Maxwell
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          This is another book with an impressive endorsement. This time, Stephen Covey steps in and provides a great forward. However, even without this endorsement, this is a great book. It uses compelling stories of leadership to help illustrate Maxwell’s 21 laws of leadership. You’ll be influenced and enlightened by the time you put this book down.
        • Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek
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            A great leader isn’t a person who can get people to do what he or she wants. Anybody with power can do that, and power does not equal leadership. A great leader builds a team of people who want to succeed because they feel valued, that they are making a contribution, and that there own personal and professional development is a priority. This book is a great primer on obtaining success through treating people well.
          • Principle-Centered Leadership – Stephen R. Covey
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              You can’t go wrong by picking up any of Covey’s books, but this one is especially inspirational. One of the most difficult challenges you will face as a leader is healing strife within your team. Through stories of great leaders, Stephen teaches you how to make people connect with one another and work together in even the most contentious of circumstances.
              1. Bold – Steven Kotler and Peter Diamandis
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                  Exponential technologies are technologies that have the ability to generate change and improve lives in ways that their creators could have never imagined. The personal computer and the internet are two examples of these technologies. In Bold, you will learn how to use exponential technology, especially the internet, to make your visions a reality.
                  1. Drive – Daniel Pink

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                    As you develop your leadership skills, one of the most important things that you will learn to do is motivate others. Unfortunately, many leaders don’t understand what it is that actually motivates people. Daniel Pink defines both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that drive motivation. Then, he provides helpful guidelines on using intrinsic motivation to produce and increase drive in ourselves and others.

                    1. Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi

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                      Effective leaders build relationships with their team members, peers, and others. In this book, Keith Ferrazzi not only explains the importance of developing meaningful relationships in the workplace and elsewhere, he also provides action steps you can take to make this happen. After reading this book, you will find yourself better prepared to make connections with others.

                      9.  Zero to One – Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

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                        This is a book especially written for future leaders who are also entrepreneurs. All too many brilliant people come up with great, potentially world changing ideas, but thanks to conventional thinking, never let those ideas come to reality. Instead, they tame and reshape those ideas until they come to fruition as yet another uninspiring business. You don’t have to let that happen to you or your ideas. Read this book and learn to build your startup your way.

                        1. The One Thing – Gary Keller
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                          If you are struggling to find success as a leader, you may be trying to do too many things. The author, Gary Keller asks you to focus on one thing. This is the one thing that you can do right now that will make things easier and better. That is what should become your focus. When you are done reading this book, you will be able to apply this principle to all areas of your life.

                      Featured photo credit: Germán Poo-Caamaño via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on November 18, 2021

                      10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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                      10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

                      We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

                      A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

                      So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

                      • honest
                      • reliable
                      • competent
                      • kind and compassionate
                      • capable of taking the blame
                      • able to persevere
                      • modest and humble
                      • pacific and can control anger.

                      The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

                      1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

                      All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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                      But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

                      2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

                      How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

                      I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

                      “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

                      Abigail Van Buren

                      3. How does this person take the blame?

                      Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

                      4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

                      You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

                      5. Read their emails.

                      Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

                      • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
                      • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
                      • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
                      • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
                      • Too many question marks can show anger
                      • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

                      6. Watch out for the show offs.

                      Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

                      7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

                      A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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                      Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

                      8. Their empathy score is high.

                      Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

                      People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

                      9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

                      We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

                      “One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

                      Stendhal

                       10. Avoid toxic people.

                      These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

                      • Envy or jealousy
                      • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
                      • Complaining about their own lack of success
                      • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
                      • Obsession with themselves and their problems

                      Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

                      Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

                      Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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