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Leaders Must be Readers… Starting with These

medium_4460748699Leadership is an ever-evolving trait. It changes as your workforce changes, so it is important to continually develop it. The best leaders are those that listen to their employees, surround themselves with people who are not afraid to challenge their opinion, amplify the abilities of their workforce, and learn from successful leaders before them. Teaching others how to grow in their talents, leading by example, and being a leader for others are some of the best ways to gain respect as a leader in your organization.

Robert Whipple writes in an article,Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”  It’s true, a good and effective leader will create more leaders to lay the path for their succession.

It is clear in some that they have the natural ability to lead others; a talent that can be harnessed and developed further with ease. There are others you have to guide more carefully through the trenches of leadership. Some are born leaders, but that is not to say it can’t be learned. “Leadership is learned and developed through a combination of practice, feedback, experience, observation, intuition, judgment, reflection and input from others; including coaching, mentoring, books, courses, and programs.”

Lessons in leadership don’t have to be taken from a course in a classroom. They can be obtained on your own, in your favorite reading chair with a nice hot cup of tea. These five books are good reads to keep your leadership skills at their peak. It is hard to make the time to read when you are busy with work, the kids’ soccer games, and golf on Saturdays; but in order to stay successful in your position, it is key to make sure your leadership abilities don’t waiver. In fact, never allow them to stay stagnant. Keep one of these books with you, so you never have an excuse to not grow in your leadership.

1. Leading with Honor

“Good teams are committed to the team mission and to each other personally. Good leaders inspire and build this commitment and trust.” 

A book on the Air Force Chief of Staff’s reading list, Leading with Honor is a must read. Author Lee Ellis talks about his five and a half years of captivity in Hanoi. He details the 14 leadership principles that got him and his team through being Prisoners of War for over five years, and it doesn’t just apply to military members. All 14 leadership principles can be applied to all leaders from Fortune 500 companies to small business owners.

 2. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

“It unearths and explains why some leaders create genius all around them while other leaders drain intelligence and capability from an organization.”

All leaders fall into one of two categories: multipliers and diminishers. Author Liz Wiseman and contributor Greg McKeown list and explain the 5 principles that distinguish leaders who amplify the thoughts and talents of those around them (multipliers); and those who drain the capabilities of everyone in the room and who are always the smartest ones in the room (diminishers).


3. Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders

“Leadership can neither be learned in a classroom, nor automatically acquired by accepting a big title or position of authority. Leadership needs to be discovered, and there is no shortcut to the discovery process.”

A trainer in leadership, Rajeev Peshawaria has worked with Fortune 500 companies on their leadership skills. In this book, he lists the three core principles of successful leadership. It is these principles that distinguish bosses from leaders.

 4. Team of Rivals

“‘Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition,’ he wrote. ‘I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.’” 

There are countless novels detailing the life and ambitions of President Abraham Lincoln. Team of Rivals reviews President Lincoln’s unmatched ability to bring difference of opinions, personalities, and beliefs together. A leadership trait to be envied, Doris Kearns Goodwin takes a new approach in detailing President Lincoln’s leadership style.

5. Questions of Character

“Serious literature offers a view from the inside… It lets us watch leaders as they think, worry, hope, hesitate, commit, exult, regret, and reflect. We see their characters tested, reshaped, strengthened or weakened.”

Badaracco takes a look at some of literature’s most profound and classic leaders and the challenges they face. The book focuses on eight questions many leaders face in their leadership development.

Good books by great authors… this is a much better way to spend your time instead of sitting in front of the TV. It’s stimulating, you’re learning, and growing as a leader. What book is first on your list?


photo credit: ~Brenda-Starr~ via photopin cc