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10 Must-Read Books For Leaders

10 Must-Read Books For Leaders

Being a leader is not always easy. These 10 books will definitely help you along your way.

1. Simon Sinek – Leaders eat last

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    “All the perks, all the benefits and advantages you may get for the rank or position you hold, they aren’t meant for you. They are meant for the role you fill. And when you leave your role, which eventually you will, they will give the ceramic cup to the person who replaces you. Because you only ever deserved a Styrofoam cup.”

    Why do some people love their jobs and others don’t. In this book, Simon Sinek believes the way people feel about their work starts with the leader. Today we live in a society where more and more people dread waking up and going to work. It seems like our jobs continue to drain the life out of us. People who read this book will find it refreshing and energizing. It will awaken the passion and fire you once had.

    In this book, the author uses real life examples of leaders who inspire us to take action. If you are a leader in the market For new thoughts on leadership and work,this book will completely revolutionize the way you lead a team in any business or industry.

    2. Dave Ramsey – Entreleadership: 20 years of practical leadership from the trenches

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      “Seth Godin says, “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”

      This book by Dave Ramsey is probably one of the best reads on leadership ever written. It is fun, engaging and cuts through all the messy but yet necessary aspects of business. From hiring and firing to learning to lead a team, this book is filled with classic personal examples from Ramsey himself.

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      Entreleadership has a gritty feel to it and would be a great read for those leaders keen on the difference between starting a company and leading one. This book is filled with common sense leadership principles that young leaders will find practical, inspiring and also life changing.

      3. Craig Hickman, Tom Smith, Roger Connors – The OZ principle

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        “The results you seek depend on shouldering greater accountability for those results. The success or failure depends, first and foremost, upon the leadership and the people and their decisions and actions, all of which are under their own control.”

        Since it was first published in 1994, the OZ Principle has almost 600,000 copies and has become the bible on workplace accountability. The idea behind this book is that people should hold themselves accountable and responsible not only for their own success, but also the success of the organization

        This book uses characters from the classic book “Wizard of oz” to teach workplace accountability. It is not enough to blame others for our lack of success, when we are the root cause of the problem itself.

        A must read for leaders and members of management, the OZ principle is designed to be taught in a workshop or seminar. The four key practical principles to get your team above the line as stated in the book are simple: See it, own it, solve it, and do it.

        4. Seth Godin – Linchpin

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          “If your organization wanted to replace you with someone far better at your job than you, what would they look for? I think it’s unlikely that they’d seek out someone willing to work more hours, or someone with more industry experience, or someone who could score better on a standardized test.

          No, the competitive advantage the marketplace demands is someone more human, connected, and mature. Someone with passion and energy, capable of seeing things as they are and negotiating multiple priorities as they make useful decisions without angst. Flexible in the face of change, resilient in the face of confusion. All of these attributes are choices, not talents, and all of them are available to you.”

          There used to be two teams in every workplace, Management and Labor.This book introduces a third; The Linchpins. They are not famous, but are the building blocks of every great organization. Where any members of management and labor and can easily be replaced, The linchpins are indispensable. This book is a great read for leaders who have been bullied to hold back their talent. It is time to stop complying with the status quo and make your own way.

          In this book,leaders will learn to become indispensable.

          5. Xenophon’s Cyrus the Great: The Arts of Leadership and War edited by Larry Hedrick

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            “We discussed how wonderful it would be if a man could train himself to be both ethical and brave, and to earn all he needed for his house-hold and himself. That kind of man, we agreed, would be appreciated by the whole world. But if a man went further still, if he had the wisdom and the skill to be the guide and governor of other men, supplying their needs and making them all they ought to be, that would be the greatest thing of all.”

            Among his many accomplishments, Cyrus the great founded and extended the Persian Empire, conquered the city of Babylon, freed 40,000 plus Jews from captivity, wrote humanity’s first human rights charter, and reined over the people he captured with grace and benevolence.

            Top Business executives, entrepreneurs and managers can read this book and wowed at the fierce but sometimes gentle nature of a man which such accomplishments. Some people still consider this to be the best book on leadership ever written.

            6. Simon Sinek – Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action

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              “A powerful and penetrating exploration of what separates great companies and great leaders from the rest.” -Polly LaBarre, coauthor of Mavericks at Work

              In this book, Simon Sinek explains why year after year, some companies are more innovative than other. By popularizing the principle of the golden circle, this book takes practical examples of companies like apple to show exactly how and why they are able to drown out their competitors.

              According to Simon, people don’t but what you do, they buy why you do it and this in a sense creates brand loyalty.

              This book is a must read for business leaders whose organizations are struggling to innovate, retain top talent and create new products. It all starts with why.

              7. Robert Bruce Shaw – Leadership blind spots

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                “The blind spot risk is that leaders fail to respond to weaknesses or threats due to a variety of factors including the complexity of their organizations, over-confidence in their own capabilities, and being surrounded by deferential subordinates.”

                This read provides an actionable model for understanding how blind spots operate and why they persist. Often times, people and companies fall from the hits they never saw coming. In a sense, they were blindsided. In this book, leaders will learn valuable tips for self improvement. Good isn’t enough because it can always be better.

                8. Barbara Kellerman- Hard times: leadership in America

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                  In this book, Barbara Kellerman turns her attention to the context in which we lead; the distinction between leaders and followers. Mrs Kellerman urges leaders in this book to not focus so much on the leader, but on the system of leadership. The plot of this book focuses on the context in which the leader and the follower operate with the overall leadership system.

                  As conveyed in the title, this book is a great read for any leader seeking to fully understand the struggles of leadership in America.

                  9. Tim Elmore – 12 Huge Mistakes parents can avoid: Leading your kids to succeed in life

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                    “‘You can do anything you want.’ I recognize why we say this, but as our kids grow older, we must help them to see what we really meant. … We really meant, if they set their mind to do something, they’ll be amazed at what they can pull off. The catch is, it needs to be something within their gift area. They cannot simply make up a dream or copy a friend’s dream and call it theirs. Dreams should be attached to strengths.”

                    This is a leadership book for parents who are deeply committed to the future success of their children.

                    Readers can expect to find ways to avoid common mistakes parents unintentionally make in getting their kids ready for the future. Passion is not a by- product. This is not only a great read for parents but also for teenagers who want to begin to decide what they want their future to look like before the rat race of a career after college.

                    10. John P Kotter – Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World

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                      There is so much competition that exists between companies in business today. No matter what industry you are in, there are tons of companies fighting to gain your attention. Success is often determined by who can control the market.

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                      In this book, readers will be treated to a powerful new framework for competing and winning in a world of constant unease and disruption. Kotter explains in this book how the traditional hierarchical system of leadership is not desired for a system where change has become the norm. This read will give leaders insight into the future of business and leadership practice in a world to come.

                      Featured photo credit: https://perfectionmanifesto.wordpress.com/2014/04/ via perfectionmanifesto.wordpress.com

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                      Last Updated on January 13, 2020

                      Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                      Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                      Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

                      Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

                      Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

                      Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

                      How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

                      The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

                      You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

                      Physical Signs

                      Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

                      It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

                      In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

                      Mental Signs

                      One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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                      I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

                      Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

                      • The tension in your neck
                      • Difficulties with sleeping
                      • Unable to concentrate
                      • High anxiety
                      • Depression

                      If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

                      Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

                      Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

                      The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

                      Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

                      Desire for an Increase of Salary

                      The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

                      At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

                      Overnight Decision

                      Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

                      Rejected for a Promotion

                      I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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                      Bored at Work

                      Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

                      A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

                      • How long have you worked in your career?
                      • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
                      • Do you receive recognition?
                      • Can you consider working in a new department?

                      If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

                      How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

                      I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

                      One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

                      It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

                      A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

                      You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

                      • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
                      • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
                      • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

                      How to Make a Career Change Successfully

                      The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

                      1. Write a Career Plan

                      A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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                      You can learn how to set your career plan here.

                      2. Weigh Your Options

                      If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

                      You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

                      3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

                      It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

                      A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

                      • Economic factors
                      • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
                      • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
                      • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
                      • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

                        A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

                        4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

                        A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

                        • What is required to be successful in the role?
                        • What certification or educational development is needed?
                        • What are the challenges of the role?
                        • Is there potential for career advancement?

                        A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

                        Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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                        5. Research Salary

                        Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

                        It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

                        6. Be Realistic

                        If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

                        For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

                        Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

                        7. Volunteer First

                        A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

                        Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

                        Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

                        8. Prepare Your Career Tools

                        I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

                        • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
                        • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
                        • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
                        • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

                        Bottom Line

                        It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

                        Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

                        More About Career Change

                        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
                        [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
                        [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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