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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 July 18, 2019

                      How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                      How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                      Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

                      However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

                      Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

                      Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

                      There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

                      Better Job Offers

                      Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

                      People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

                      Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

                      You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

                      Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

                      A Shot at Entrepreneurship

                      Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

                      We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

                      13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

                      1. Update Your Resume

                      You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

                      Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

                      While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

                      There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

                      2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

                      Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

                      That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

                      To hone this skill:

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                      Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

                      Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

                      This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

                      How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

                      3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

                      Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

                      Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

                      To hone this skill:

                      Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

                      4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

                      No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

                      Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

                      To hone this skill:

                      Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

                      Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

                      These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

                      The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

                      5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

                      Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

                      How to hone this skill:

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                      Practice being resourceful.

                      Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

                      Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

                      No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

                      If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

                      6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

                      6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

                      Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

                      The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

                      Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

                      Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

                      17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

                      7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

                      Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

                      What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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                      Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

                      5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

                      8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

                      Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

                      Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

                      Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

                      What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

                      9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

                      How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

                      Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

                      Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

                      The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

                      10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

                      Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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                      Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

                      What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                      11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

                      Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

                      You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

                      How to hone this skill:

                      All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

                      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                      12. Build Networks and Relationships

                      You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

                      Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

                      To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

                      How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

                      Final Thoughts

                      Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

                      You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

                      Happy career switching!

                      More Resources About Career Advancement

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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