Posted On May 24, 2016

open book

To be a great leader in today’s complex business world you need a wide range of knowledge, skills and tools in order to effectively understand, manage and inspire others.

To help you soak up this knowledge, we’ve put together this top notch reading list.

The Leader Who Had No Title – Robin Sharma

If you’re under the impression that you need to ‘do time’ and work your way up the corporate ladder to be a leader, this book is for you. Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, uses storytelling to illustrate that leadership is an attitude and anyone can be a leader, regardless of their rank or position in life. His tale follows a young returned soldier who, through an inspiring mentor, meets four characters that show him how to take ownership of his life and live it with meaning and purpose.

Learned Optimism – Martin Seligman

Do you take a dim and helpless view of life’s setbacks or approach them with healthy positivity? In Learned Optimism, leading psychologist Dr Martin Seligman explores how people look at challenging life events and how that viewpoint influences their quality of life. Seligman shows you how to identify your own pessimistic thoughts and offers simple techniques to help break those detrimental patterns, develop your potential and become a happier, healthier you.

Rising Strong – Brené Brown

Social scientist and TED star Brené Brown is known for her work into vulnerability, shame and living wholeheartedly. In Rising Strong, Brené delves into research mode again to uncover the secrets to bravery – putting yourself out there and getting back up when you fall – from those who have been there and back. If you need a roadmap for turning yourself around when something’s taken you down for the count, it’s here.

The Icarus Deception – Seth Godin

Do you have the courage to fly high, against the voice of ‘reason’, or do you bow to the suffocating clamour of conformity? This book by marketing guru Seth Godin inspires us to let loose our creative spirit and realise our true potential by getting out of our comfort zone. Seth maintains that it is when you treat your work as art that can you truly soar.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

Reading more like a gripping novel than a business book, readers follow the story of a fictional CEO as she takes on the task of uniting a troubled and divided executive team. As the leader’s journey unfolds, Lencioni reveals the five key dysfunctions of a team that prevent it from reaching its full potential. Overcoming these traits takes courage, discipline and tenacity, and embracing our ‘human-ness’. This book is a must-read for new leaders, full of insights and tools to help build better team behaviour.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

I’m sure it’s of no surprise to find this publication on personal effectiveness on our list. Author Stephen Covey believes that to change a situation, we need to change ourselves from within – not just shift our attitudes and behaviours. Thus the seven habits of effectiveness are stages of character development. The first six habits guide you from dependence, through independence to interdependence (a key trait of an effective, collaborative leader), and the seventh focuses on the fine balance between productivity and self-improvement which is so essential to continued success.

The New One Minute Manager – Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson

When you’re super busy and time poor, how can you be an effective manager? In one-minute chunks! The practical secrets to this approach lie within this updated edition of the hugely popular One Minute Manager. The book focuses on three key elements to managing others: One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands. It’s a great read for anyone looking for a method to lead staff more effectively.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High – Patterson K Et Al

Good communication skills are the foundation of great leadership, especially when difficult conversations must be had. But most managers are challenged with this – how do you effectively manage a dialogue where emotions could run high? Crucial Conversations helps equip you with the tools and techniques for mastering delicate discussions for better outcomes.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – Sheryl Sandberg

Gender diversity remains a hot topic in business, with women still underrepresented in leadership roles. Lean In explores the many and varied challenges facing working women and why progress is slow. Sandberg, COO of Facebook, reveals her own personal experiences as well as including insights from significant research and data. She provides practical advice on the steps women can take be both personally and professionally fulfilled.

The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the Future of Your Organization and Your Life – Steve Zaffron & David Logan

Performance specialists Zaffron and Logan have defined three laws that, when applied, can transform human behaviours and allow you to ‘rewrite the future’. This practical book reveals these laws and how to implement them so that everyone from individuals to whole organisations can rise from tough challenges to a new and improved future. It includes plenty of real case studies of companies that have been through positive transformation.

More than words

If you’d like to pick up more hands-on skills and advice on becoming a great leader, you can’t beat the experience of facilitator-led training. Check out our comprehensive suite of leadership courses for managers and join us in the physical or virtual classroom.