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10 Must-Read Books For Leaders

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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 August 25, 2021

                      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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                      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

                      As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

                      Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

                      According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

                      “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

                      A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

                      What Is Your Personal Brand?

                      “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

                      Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

                      Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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                      I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

                      A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

                      Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

                      Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

                      Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

                      In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

                      According to Castrillon,[2]

                      “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

                      The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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                      As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

                      In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

                      “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

                      When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

                      The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

                      Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

                      The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

                      5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

                      These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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                      1. Set Your Personal Goals

                      What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

                      2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

                      Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

                      1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
                      2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
                      3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
                      4. What makes you different from others like you?

                      The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

                      3. Write Your Professional Story

                      Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

                      4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

                      Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

                      5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

                      A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

                      The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

                      Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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                      As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

                      Other People’s Stories

                      Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

                      Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

                      Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

                      “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

                      So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

                      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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