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Last Updated on June 3, 2019

15 Best Leadership Books Every Leader Must Read To Achieve Success

15 Best Leadership Books Every Leader Must Read To Achieve Success

Reading is an essential life skill. It’s how we record our history and share stories. Sure, there are countless books jam-packed from cover to cover with valuable facts. But there are also limitless volumes containing invaluable insights on the human experience.

Generations of people have scribed their experiences and struggles, their emotions and confessions onto blank pages, thereby transforming them into rich resources. Given this truth, it’s disheartening to report that global literacy rates are in decline.[1] Individuals young and old all around the world are reading less, less absorbedly.

According to author John Coleman, this lack of literature extends into the business world and all the way up the corporate ladder.[2] In his experience, “business people seem to be reading less.” Which is bad news considering the fact that “broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders.”

Perhaps it’s because reading has been shown to improve communication,[3] emotional intelligence,[4] organizational effectiveness, and to reduce stress.[5] All of which are critical requirements for an effective leader.

Now that you’ve been sufficiently convinced of the importance of reading, you’re probably wondering what you should be reading. You might also be thinking that you don’t have the time. Well, the truth is that you do have the time:

“Reading must become as natural as eating and breathing to you.”

You don’t have to read 52 books in a year, but you do have to make time for more reading. And when you do, this list of the 15 best leadership books to read will inform and inspire you to become a great leader — they are categorized based on the 5 rules of leadership:

  1. Lead Yourself
  2. Understand True Leadership
  3. Communicate and Motivate
  4. Keep Going
  5. Be Real

#1 Lead Yourself: Before you can lead someone else, a group of people, or a company, you must be able to lead yourself. That means discipline, self-actualization, sense of purpose, and humility.

1. Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius

    Although Aurelius was writing for himself, the surviving text is a road map to living a better life. By removing the excess, Aurelius shows us all how to rise above distractions to maintain our principles. Rooted in Stoic philosophy, Meditations is practical advice for controlling your thoughts, emotions, and actions to remove stress from your life.

    Print | eBook

    2. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankel

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      This book recounts Viktor Frankel’s experience in Auschwitz, the Nazi prison camp, during the Holocaust. Through all the pain and suffering Frankel was able to maintain perspective and conclude that there “must be meaning in suffering.” He reminds us that the meaning of life is to define that meaning for ourselves through action.

      Print | eBook | Audiobook

      3. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

        Life is a journey. Each one of us should be trying to follow our own personal legend (that is, what you have always wanted to accomplish). The tale of Santiago, a shepherd boy, reveals what happens when we pursue our own legend: “the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

        Print | eBook | Audiobook

        #2 Understand True Leadership: After building your foundation from which to lead, it’s important to understand exactly what leadership is and how it’s applied. It’s also helpful to study other successful leaders and businesses.

        4. The Truth About Leadership, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

          There are some things that will always play a role in effective leadership. Trust, credibility, and ethics are among those things. Kouzes and Posner reveal 30 years of research that support these and other core principles.

          Print | eBook | Audiobook

          5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins

            Some companies succeed, but most fail. Jim Collins evaluated thousands of articles and interview transcripts to figure out why exactly that is. Then he packaged it all into this book to show you what traits you’ll need to build a great company.

            Print | eBook | Audiobook

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            6. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Steven R. Covey

              Seven Habits is a timeless lesson in leadership and success. By changing your mindset to embrace an alternative perspective, Covey walks you through the self-mastery Paradigm Shift. This process is broken down into Independence, Interdependence, and Continual Improvement, resulting in meaningful and consistent growth.

              Print | eBook | Audiobook

              7. Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh

                As CEO of Zappo, Tony Hsieh built a massively successful business by doing what everyone else talks about: putting the customer first and hiring the right people. Serving customers and company culture were the main focus. As a result employees and customers were happy and satisfied. Hsieh was able to dismantle traditional corporate leadership and deliver happiness and loads of profit along the way

                Print | eBook

                8. The Innovator’s Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen

                  Here Harvard professor and businessman Clayton Christensen lays out the path to “disruptive innovation.” This, as described by Christensen, requires rejecting the needs of the customer right now in favor of adopting new methods and technologies that will meet their needs in the future. Early adopters and innovators get ahead; all of the others fall behind.

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                  9. Tribes, by Seth Godin

                    Start by reading Tribes and then continue on reading everything Godin has written. From his blog to his books and everything in between, Godin is sharing a winning formula for stepping outside of the status quo to do meaningful work. It’s this kind of work that will inspire others to follow, help you get noticed, and leave a legacy long after you’re gone.

                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

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                    #3 Communicate and Motivate: To lead, you must inspire others to follow your example or orders. It helps if you’re able to attract, engage, and encourage employees, business partners, and potential clients to get on board with your plan or proposal.

                    10. Drive, by Daniel H. Pink

                      The ability to motivate is central to leadership. That’s what makes Pink’s book so valuable. Packed with the secrets of motivation, Pink suggests we move away from rewards and punishment, opting for meaningful work, mastery, and autonomy instead.

                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                      11. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

                        Everyone wants to feel important. In Win Friends Carnegie shows you how to use that in your favor to make people like you and win people over. It’s a book about how to communicate and interact with people in a meaningful way. It all comes down to showing interest in the people you interact with and the work that they are doing. If you make that connection you will have won a friend.

                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                        12. Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin

                          If Abe Lincoln can unite his cabinet and the country around abolishing slavery amidst war, you can probably reconcile conflicting personalities in your company. Meshing people of divergent ideologies into a team or group is an admirable leadership trait. In Team of Rivals Kearns Goodwin recounts the story of how Lincoln surrounded himself with the best people, despite their differences. He was humble and unafraid to be challenged: two traits that will serve every leader.

                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                          #4 Keep Going: Sometimes things don’t go as planned. If and when that happens, you’ll have to pick yourself up and start all over again. Perseverance and resilience are mandatory.

                          13. Endurance, by Endurance

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                            In 1914, explorer Edward Shackleton undertook an expedition to the South Pole. Although the mission was a failure, the resulting story of survival in the ice-bound Antarctic seas serves as a guide post for leaders confronted with adversity.

                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                            #5 Be Real: No one can fake leadership. And, if they can, it won’t last long. Acknowledging fear and vulnerability are far more valuable leadership skills than being cold or shut-off.

                            14. Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown

                              Being vulnerable doesn’t have to be a weakness. Fear and shame shouldn’t prevent us from daring to do big things. Instead, Brown tells us that it’s most important to show up; to try and to fail. Because coming up short is better than never having tried at all.

                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                              15. The War of Art, by Steve Pressfield

                                Anything you create is going to require one heck of a battle: that’s the war of art. Every single person in the world who has written a book, published an article, started a business, or made “art” has been scared out of their mind. Procrastination, fear, and self-doubt strike everyone. The only way to beat them is to make stuff and share it with the world.

                                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                More Great Books to Read

                                Featured photo credit: Quino Al via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Sustainable Development Goals: Data for the Sustainable Development Goals
                                [2] Harvard Business Review: For Those Who Want to Lead, Read
                                [3] Adv Child Dev Behav: Does reading make you smarter? Literacy and the development of verbal intelligence.
                                [4] Harvard Business review: What Makes a Leader?
                                [5] Telegraph: Reading ‘can help reduce stress’

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                                Joe Vennare

                                Joe is the co-founder of Fitt.co. He's a fitness professional and a serial entrepreneur.

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                                1 15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done 2 50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success 3 How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques 4 15 Inspiring Journal Ideas to Set You up for Success 5 11 Organizational Skills That Every Smart Leader Needs

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                                Last Updated on September 18, 2019

                                15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                                15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                                You may think that you don’t have time for office organization, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider.

                                Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer.

                                A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.

                                Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact, maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an on-going project, instead of a massive assault.

                                So, if you’re ready to get started, the following organizing tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.

                                1. Purge Your Office

                                De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?

                                Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc.

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                                Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.

                                2. Gather and Redistribute

                                Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.

                                3. Establish Work “Zones”

                                Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.)

                                Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.

                                4. Close Proximity

                                Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.

                                5. Get a Good Labeler

                                Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.

                                6. Revise Your Filing System

                                As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased.

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                                What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups.

                                Here’re some storage ideas for creating a smooth filing system:

                                • Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
                                • Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
                                • Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
                                • Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
                                • Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
                                • Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
                                • File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.

                                Learn more tips on organizing your files here: How to Organize Your Files for Better Productivity

                                7. Clear off Your Desk

                                Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.

                                If you have difficulty declutter stuff, this Declutter Formula will help you throw away stuff without regretting later.

                                8. Organize your Desktop

                                Now that you’ve streamlined your desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it.

                                Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.

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                                Don’t forget your computer desktop! Make sure the files or images are all in organized folders. I’d recommend you clear your computer desktop everyday before you leave work.

                                9. Organize Your Drawers

                                Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc.

                                Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.

                                10. Separate Inboxes

                                If you work regularly with other people, create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.

                                11. Clear Your Piles

                                Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones.

                                Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.

                                12. Sort Mails

                                Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .

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                                13. Assign Discard Dates

                                You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded.

                                Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.

                                14. Filter Your Emails

                                Some emails are important to read, others are just not that important.

                                When you use the filter system to label different types of emails, you know their priority and which to reply first.

                                Take a look at these tips to achieve inbox zero: The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero

                                15. Straighten Your Desk

                                At the end of the day, do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.

                                Bottom Line

                                Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way.

                                Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working and you’ll enjoy being clutter free!

                                More Organizing Hacks

                                Featured photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva via unsplash.com

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