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No One Told You the Book List for Improving Leadership Skills? I Will

No One Told You the Book List for Improving Leadership Skills? I Will

Becoming a better leader takes effort, making mistakes, reflection and study. When you lead, you are expected to take chances and take risks. If you are driven by a need for security, you may not have what it takes to become a leader.

To help you understand your leadership strengths and provide practical ideas to lead better, start with reading these books. This combination of personal development, biography and business books provide several perspectives on leadership skills. If you are a regular reader like me, you may find yourself reading the same category of books over and over again (e.g., only business books) and neglecting other genres. Take this opportunity to read widely — there is more than one way to lead successfully.

1. Churchill: A Life by Sir Martin Gilbert

Churchill

    Winston Churchill remains one of the most inspiring and accomplished leaders in history. What leadership skills can you learn from studying Churchill? You can learn the value of personal focus — how Churchill overcame rejection when he started his military career. You can also learn how Churchill developed his public speaking skills. Though Churchill is widely known and respected for his speeches today, those leadership skills did not develop overnight.

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    2. The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell

    5_Levels_of_Leadership__85464_zoom

      As one of the most popular and respected leadership authors in America, there is much we can learn from John C. Maxwell’s books and example. Consider his own leadership career as a starting point. He started his career in the church, began a non-profit organization and today leads a successful leadership development company. The ability to achieve success in several industries shows that Maxwell’s leadership ideas have been tested in the field.

      3. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

      Washington-A-Life

        America’s first President is widely respected for several important leadership accomplishments. He led soldiers into battle and through years of physical hardship during the War of Independence. He later served as America’s first President, a rare figure who had the ability to unite a young country. But how did he achieve all these leadership feats? Chernow’s outstanding biography takes us behind the scenes with outstanding research that features quotes from Washington’s letters and other sources. To start your Washington education today, read Career Hacks From Young George Washington.

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        4. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

        switch

          Leaders are rarely interested in the status quo. As a leader, you will be asked to create change. There are all changes of change projects you may lead — launching a new product, improving customer service or improving productivity. In this highly readable book (I read it on the beach and was glued to it!), Dan and Chip Heath explain how change really works. A key insight — change efforts require an understanding of logic, habits and psychology. If you miss one of those aspects, your leadership will fail. The book makes use of stories and studies to teach great points on how to make change happen.

          5. The Truth about Leadership: The No-fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

          the-truth-about

            Your personal qualities and character are key factors in determining your success as a leader. The authors present a compelling case on what makes leaders successful based on decades of research. The first important insight is that honesty and integrity are the foundation for your success as a leader. Without those qualities, few people will be inclined to trust you. The second great insight I learned from this book is the importance of the leader going first and taking risks. For example, if your company is about to adopt a new computer system, you can signal your leadership by being the first to go through the training and then supporting the rest of the team. Thanks to leadership expert Richard Rierson for recommending this book to me.

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            6. Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

            fivedysfunctions

              Lencioni has a highly readable style in the world of business books. He tells a compelling fictional story and then has his characters work out his principles over time. In this book, you will learn Lencioni’s perspective on team work. A major lesson from this book: Simply hiring a group of high performance people is not enough to create a team. Relationships within the team matter more. Without that trust and connection, the team will never perform at a top level.

              7. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter Drucker

              Effective Executive

                Drucker’s classic book has stood the test of time in the business world. Leaders will benefit from reading this book in two ways. First, Drucker provides timeless productivity principles to help leaders manage their priorities. Second, the book has incredible lessons on making decisions and following through on those decisions.

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                On occasion, some of the language and examples may feel dated. Don’t let that stop you from growing your leadership skills with this classic book. If you enjoy Drucker’s perspective, consider reading “A Year with Peter Drucker,” which provides a detailed discussion of his ideas.

                8. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam M. Grant

                Give and Take Book Cover

                  Adam Grant has reshaped the leadership conversation with his New York Times bestseller, “Give and Take”. Leaders who give AND take achieve more success — that’s the ultimate lesson from the book. The book is also filled with motivation and productivity studies that will benefit leaders. A great example is the call centre study that Grant conducted. The study focused on a university call center where callers sought donations to the college. The productivity and average donation received significantly increased when the callers had a short presentation from a student who had benefited from the fundraising.

                  Featured photo credit: Book/kaboompics via pixabay.com

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                  Bruce Harpham

                  Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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                  Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                  26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

                  26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

                  If you pay attention to your everyday life careful enough, you’ll know that you can learn from everything and everyone you come across. Our life is basically full of useful lessons that we should learn.

                  Here are 26 useful things to learn that Abhishek A. Singh shared on Quora. Let’s see how these life theories would lead you to live a different life.

                  1. Primacy and recency: People mostly remember the first and last things that occurred, barely the middle.

                  When scheduling an interview, ask the employer the time slots they do interviews and try to be the first or the last.

                  2. If you work in a bar or in customer service of any kind, put a mirror behind you at the counter.

                  In this way, angry customers who approach you will have to see themselves in the mirror behind you and the chance of them behaving irrationally will be lowered significantly.

                  3. Once you make a sales pitch, don’t say anything else.

                  This works in sales, but it can also be applied in other ways.

                  My previous boss was training me and just gave me pointers. I was working at a gym trying to sell memberships. He told me that once I got all the small talk out of the way and presented the prices, the first person to talk would lose.

                  It didn’t seem like a big deal but it actually worked. Often there were long periods of awkward silence as the person tried to come up with some excuses, but usually they bought.

                  4. If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer, just wait.

                  If you stay silent and keep eye contact, they will usually continue to talk.

                  5. Chew gum when you’re approaching a situation that would make you nervous, like public speaking or bungee jumping.

                  When we eat, our brain tell ourselves, “I would not be eating if I were danger. So I’m not in danger.” This has helped me to stay calm.

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                  6. People will always remember how you made them feel, not what you said.

                  Also, most people like talking about themselves; so ask lots of questions about them.

                  7. When you’re learning something new, teach it to a friend. Let them ask you questions about it.

                  If you’re able to teach something well, you will be sure that you’ve understood it very well.

                  8. If you get yourself to be really happy and excited to see other people, they will react the same to you.

                  It doesn’t always happen the first time, but it will definitely happen the next time.

                  9. The physical effects of stress — breathing rate and heart rate — are almost identical to the physical effects of courage.

                  When you’re feeling stressed in any situations, immediately reframe it : Your body is getting ready to be courageous, you are NOT stressed.

                  10. Pay attention to people’s feet.

                  If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation.

                  Similarly, if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, they want the conversation to end.

                  11. Confidence is more important than knowledge.

                  Don’t be intimidated by anyone, everyone is playing a role and wearing a mask.

                  12. If you pretend to be something for long enough, you will eventually become it.

                  Fake it till you make it. Period.

                  13. Not to be creepy, but if you want to stare at someone unashamedly, look directly past them and wait for them to try and meet your eyes.

                  When they fail to do that, they’ll look around (usually nervously for a second) they won’t look at you again for some time. This is your chance to straight up stare at this person for at least 45 seconds.

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                  And as suggested by Brian Stutzman:

                  If you’re staring at someone and get caught, DON’T turn your head or your body to look away, because that just confirms that you were staring.

                  Just move your EYEBALLS off the person. Unlike turning your head, it’s instantaneous. And the person will think you were just looking at something behind them and that they were mistaken for thinking you were staring. Do it confidently, and ignore any reaction from the person, and you can sell it every single time.

                  After a second, you can even look back at them with a “Why are you staring at me?” look on your face to really cement the deal!

                  14. Build a network.

                  Become the information source, and let the information be yours. Even grabbing a beer with a former colleague once a year will keep you in the loop at the old office.

                  Former coworkers might have gotten a new position in that office you always wanted to work in, great! Go to them for a beer, and ask about the office. It’s all about connections and information.

                  15. If you are angry at the person in front of you driving like a grandmother…

                  Pretend it is your grandmother, it will significantly reduce your road rage.

                  main-qimg-17c6060ba5491ad5af817faf5046a13b

                    16. Stand up straight.

                    No slouching, hands out of pockets, and head held up high. It’s not just a cliche — you literally feel better and people around you feel more confident in you.

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                    17. Avoid saying “I think,” and “I believe” unless absolutely necessary.

                    These are phrases that do not evoke confidence, and will literally do you no good.

                    18. When feeling anxious, clean up your home or work space.

                    You will feel happier and more accomplished than before.

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                      19. Always buy the first pitcher or round of drinks.

                      You’d be surprised how long you could drink on the phrase “I bought the first one.”

                      20. Going into an interview… be interested in your interviewers.

                      If you focus on learning about them, you’ll seem to be more interesting and dynamic. (Again, people love to talk about themselves.)

                      21. Pay attention parents! Always give your kid a choice that makes them think they are in control.

                      For instance, when I want my son to put his shoes on I will say ,”do you want to put your star wars shoes on or your shark shoes on?”

                      Pro-tip: In some cases, this works on adults.

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                        22. Your action affects your attitude more than your attitude affects your action.

                        As my former teacher said “You can jump and dance FOR joy, but you can also jump and dance yourself joyful.”

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                        23. When a group of people laugh, people will instinctively look at the person they feel closest to in that group.

                        Notice who you look at and who look at you when you laugh with a group of people!

                        24. If you want to build rapport or gain someone’s trust quickly, match their body posture and position.

                        If someone is sitting with her legs crossed, cross your legs. If they’re leaning away from you, lean away from them. If they’re leaning towards you, lean towards them.

                        Mirroring and matching body position is a subconscious way to tell if someone trusts you or is comfortable with you. If you’re sitting with your arms crossed and you notice someone else is sitting with her arms crossed, that is a good indicator that you have/are successfully built/building rapport with that person.

                        25. The Benjamin Franklin Effect (suggested by Matt Miller)

                        I find the basis of the Benjamin Franklin effect is very useful and extends far beyond pencil borrowing. This knowledge is useful in the world of flirting too.

                        Asking a girl in your class if you can borrow a pencil or her notes or to explain the homework will make her more likely to like you than if you let her borrow your stuff or are the one to help her. Even just asking a girl to buy you drinks (facetiously) leaves a much bigger impression than offering to or actually buying a girl a drink.

                        The best part is it kills 3 birds with one stone: you get the advantages of the favor itself, the person subconsciously likes you more, and it makes them more open to future favors and conversation.

                        26. Handle panic and anxiety behaviors by tapping fingers (Suggested by Jade Barbee)

                        When you’re feeling stressed, worried or angry, tap each finger tip while thinking (or speaking quietly) a few specific words about what is bothering you. Repeat the same words while tapping each of your 10 fingers, including thumbs.

                        For example, tap while saying, “I’m so angry with her…” Doing so will likely take the charge out of the feeling and return you to a more resourceful (better feeling) state of being. It’s called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or “tapping,” and it is useful in many life situations – emotional sadness, physical pain, food cravings, traumatic memories…

                        Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

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