As a leader or manager, owning exceptional leadership and management skills is a must if you want to stay on top and develop your career. One of the best ways to gain them is through reading the best books on leadership and management.
Now, let’s walk through the list of must-read books in the field:
1. Stephen R Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
It is not an exaggeration to say that Covey’s book is the most influential book on leadership and management in this century. Not only serving as an insightful guide to the philosophies and principles behind effective leadership, but it also gives leaders the ability to identify the most effective employees and make the most out of them.
The seven habits that you will learn in this classic are:
- Be Proactive
- Begin With The End in Mind
- Put First Things First
- Think Win-Win
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Sharpen The Saw
Mastering these habits through the book is sure to make you a more effective manager and leader. Other than that, the “7 Habits” has also turned into a series that has books tailored for specific professions. Given that the series is taught worldwide, it also makes them the best books for new managers to study at the start of their careers.
2. Daniel Goleman’s “Primal Leadership: Unleashing The Power of Emotional Intelligence”
Emotional intelligence is a buzzword used frequently by almost all leadership and management authors nowadays. Other than being a good trend, it also makes it harder for one to identify good ones in the “haystack” of similar books.
Apart from that, it’s also somewhat hard to find “powerful” books that explain how emotional intelligence is used in the “bloody” world of work and leadership practically and effectively.
In that way, this book by Daniel Goleman et al. shines. Written by the one who first propelled the term “emotional intelligence” into the buzzword that we know today, Daniel’s book is packed with insights and data presented as an engaging narrative.
In this book, you will learn the typology of leadership styles, their characteristics, impacts, and also when and how they’re most effective to use. The leadership styles discussed in the book are:
3. John C. Maxwell’s “Developing The Leader Within You 2.0”
John C. Maxwell is a world-renowned author in the field of the leadership of management. His books have been sold in the tens of millions and translated into tens of languages.
“Developing The Leader Within You 2.0” is Maxwell’s rework of his first book on management with the same title (without the “2.0”). In this newer work, he includes the leadership insights and practices that he has learned since the first book appeared in 2005.
He thoroughly revised the book, added two whole new chapters, and updated the foundational principles of leadership mentioned within.
The uniqueness of this book is not only that it covers many types of leaders and their characteristics, but it is also systemic, direct, and practical. This ensures that you can make incredible active insights within your daily life.
4. John C. Maxwell’s “Leadershift”
Still by Maxwell, this book is a beautiful gem, arguably a must-read for all leaders and managers in this changing day and age. Nowadays, leaders and managers are more demanded than ever to update many of their current views in these volatile times.
Many old management principles are no longer applicable, and they need to be revised if they still want to lead their “flock” to greener pastures and avoid pitfalls.
In this splendid book, Maxwell points out that you have to do different things in times of change. He laid out 11 changes (“leader shifts”) that you could make:
- The Focus Shift – Soloist to Conductor
- The Personal Development Shift – Goals to Growth
- The Cost Shift – Perks to Price
- The Relational Shift – Pleasing people to Challenging people
- The Abundance Shift – Maintaining to Creating
- The Reproduction Shift – Ladder climbing to Ladder building
- The Communication Shift – Directing to Connecting
- The Improvement Shift – Team uniformity to Team diversity
- The Influence Shift – Positional Authority to Moral authority
- The Impact Shift – Trained leaders to Transformational leaders
- The Passion Shift – Career to Calling
Curious about the explanation of the leader shifts? Then you must set some quiet time apart to buy and read this book. Oh, and don’t forget your pen and paper!
5. John P. Kotter’s “Leading Change”
Following Maxwell’s premise that leaders need to change in these disruptive times, we present a book that could help you further prepare yourself as a transformative leader. Kotter emphasizes that leaders now need to prepare themselves to be part of the change rather than resist it.
And what’s interesting is that he also tells us the methodology to lead the change itself and shape its direction. This way, we will not only be “surviving” but also thriving as a player in the new, complex world.
This book is a must-read if you’re a leader in a business exposed to constant change. But it is also very beneficial for leaders in every field. Why? Because effectiveness rate, the amount of change and volatility is now so pervasive that it is present in every sector.
6. Richard Reed’s “If I Could Just Tell You One Thing: Encounters With Remarkable People And Their Most Valuable Advice”
Leadership is an art. It is not some series of algorithms that can be applied in every time and space with the same rate of effectiveness. And as arts are, the best way to learn about the field is to learn from the best artists that are seasoned with time and years of experience. In this case, the leaders.
The only catch is that, sadly, not many of us are given a chance to learn directly from these individuals. But rest easy because, in this unique book, the author provides insights that he gained from interviewing big names in the leadership and management world.
He interviewed leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs ranging from former US President Bill Clinton to the Dalai Lama and asked them what lesson would they tell him if they could just tell him one thing only. As Reed did his interviews with leaders from various fields, you can also gain many benefits regardless of your background.
If leaders’ experiences can be likened to books, then reading this book gives us the experience of reading the summary of the best leadership books of all time.
Being a leader or manager in these times is, of course, not easy. We are constantly bombarded with changes and challenges that come from every direction. Thus to better prepare ourselves, we must equip our minds with the best tools and strategies tested and up-to-date.
And one of the best ways to do that is, arguably, by reading the best books on leadership and management, some of which we have listed above for you.