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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 March 29, 2021

                      5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

                      5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

                      When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

                      What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

                      The Dream Type Of Manager

                      My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

                      I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

                      My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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                      “Okay…”

                      That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

                      I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

                      The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

                      The Bully

                      My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

                      However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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                      The Invisible Boss

                      This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

                      It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

                      The Micro Manager

                      The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

                      Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

                      The Over Promoted Boss

                      The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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                      You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

                      The Credit Stealer

                      The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

                      Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

                      3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

                      Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

                      1. Keep evidence

                      Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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                      Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

                      Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

                      2. Hold regular meetings

                      Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

                      3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

                      Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

                      However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

                      Good luck!

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