Leadership books are moving into a new realm. Rather than really simple books that have minimal substance the new wave is moving past “how to” to “who are you.”
Most are showing you the leadership ways from the inside out. We all need to know more about ourselves as a starting point for high level leadership and leadership development.
First and foremost, leadership is about relationships. Whether you are offering feedback, listening to employee creative ideas, or helping settle a squabble before it bursts into a conflict, the core of leading is helping others grow and become the best they can be.
1. “The Good Struggle: Responsible Leadership in an Unforgiving World,” by Joseph Badaracco Jr.: Five questions to guide you as you “struggle” to be a responsible leader. Most books want too much happiness. This book gives a more balanced perspective.
2. “Wonder Woman,” by Debora Spar: The President of Barnard College examines the high expectations society holds for women and what women do to comply.
3. “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success,” by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty: Jackson sure knows how to get teams to win. Here he digs deep so you can look at yourself as you decide what really matters at work.
4. “The Bully Pulpit,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin: She has an incredible ability to get us past the headlines and the fluff to the level of real people. Here you can digest the information about how these men who were friends became enemies and how their fueled changed history.
5. “Decisive,” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath: These brothers always write compelling books and this one is a must. The research about how we make decisions will help all of us decide what to decide in more effective ways.
I am adding one more book; while it was published in 2009 I think it is worth a look. Full disclosure, I wrote it and as I looked at the list I was compiling going through at least 25 other books I decided (thank you Heath brothers) it still has a lot of vim and vigor for today’s leaders. “Don’t Bring It to Work” talks about the 13 most common behavior patterns we learned in our original organization, the family and how they show up at work. Enjoy them all.