10 books to make you a stronger leader

10 books to make you a stronger leader

Whether you want to improve your soft skills or rally a team around a vision, these books will help you overcome challenges and broaden your leadership skills

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December 04, 2018

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

By: Brené Brown

Book description (via Amazon): Four-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying the emotions and experiences that give meaning to our lives, and the past seven years working with transformative leaders and teams spanning the globe. She found that leaders in organizations ranging from small entrepreneurial startups and family-owned businesses to nonprofits, civic organizations, and Fortune 50 companies all ask the same question: How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture? In this new book, Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions.

Why you should read it: In a time when companies are looking to AI and robotics to do things better and faster, Brown focuses on what machines can’t do – but we can learn to do better. By honing empathy, connection, and courage, leaders can become change makers. Brown shows readers how.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

By: Kim Scott

Book description (via Amazon): Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring it’s obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging it’s ruinous empathy. When you do neither it’s manipulative insincerity. This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of.

Why you should read it: As a former Google and Apple executive, Scott developed a class on how to be a good boss. This book outlines her approach to effective management. If you are stuck in a management rut or have strained relationships with colleagues, read this book for a new path forward to more productive, meaningful relationships at work.

Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Surefire Ways to Design a Workplace That Is Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World

By: Erica Keswin

Book description (via Amazon): As a workplace strategist and business coach, Erica Keswin has spent over 20 years working with top business leaders and executives to build successful organizations that honor relationships. Featuring case studies from top brands such as Lyft, Starbucks, Mogul, and SoulCycle, to name a few, Bring Your Human to Work distills the key practices of the most human companies into applicable advice that any business leader can use to build a “human workplace.”

Why you should read it: With practical ideas – such as encouraging employees to live healthier lives, designing spaces for face-to-face interactions, and running better meetings – Keswin describes how to create a joyful environment where people want to work.

Talent Wins: The New Playbook for Putting People First

By: Ram Charan, Dominic Barton, and Dennis Carey

Book description (via Harvard Business Review): Most executives today recognize the competitive advantage of human capital, and yet the talent practices their organizations use are stuck in the twentieth century. Typical talent-planning and HR processes are designed for predictable environments, traditional ways of getting work done, and organizations where "lines and boxes" still define how people are managed. As work and organizations have become more fluid – and business strategy is no longer about planning years ahead but about sensing and seizing new opportunities and adapting to a constantly changing environment – companies must deploy talent in new ways to remain competitive.

Why you should read it: If you are ready to reimagine your organization’s approach to acquiring, managing, and deploying talent, this book is a great place to start. Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson and director at IBM, said: "Talent is the difference between a good company and great company. And nurturing talent--helping people flourish – requires continuous action, effort, and work. It is critical to the mission and the aspirations of an organization that leaders be inventing, and then reinventing, the talent development playbook. Talent Wins helps you do just that."

What Are Your Blind Spots? Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back

By: Jim Haudan and Rich Berens

Book description (via Amazon): Authors Jim Haudan and Rich Berens identify the five most common leadership blind spots that hamper success: Purpose, Story, Engagement, Trust, and Truth. They take you straight into the boardroom of well-known leadership teams to illustrate how these blind spots play out and the impact they have on organizations. You’ll learn how to identify and overcome your own blind spots and embrace positive, forward-thinking new practices.

Why you should read it: Are there aspects of your leadership style you’d like to improve in 2019? Or are you in need of a full leadership reset? This book can help by shining a light on the five most difficult parts of leadership, and the steps you can take to improve.

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