5 Books Every Leader Should Read

“Learning is not a one-time event or a periodic luxury. Great leaders in great companies recognize that the ability to constantly learn, innovate, and improve is vital to their success.” 
– Amy Edmondson

Leaders are charged with inspiring, educating, and encouraging others. But who do leaders turn to when they need to be refilled? Fortunately, many authors have poured years of expertise into advice books to offer insight to leaders from all walks of life. Here are five books (or audiobooks) every leader should read.

1. The 360-Degree Leader by John C. Maxwell

The 360-Degree Leader is written specifically for middle management leaders. Maxwell instructs readers to flex their influence in all 360 degrees: down to their team members, across the aisle to their coworkers, and upward to those who lead them. This book is empowering because it confirms that no matter your position, you have the ability to create change. It also offers concrete leadership techniques, tips and tricks that you can apply on the job.  

2. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last focuses on what the author calls the chemicals of leadership. He states that coaches’ emotions are what impact the change created amongst their teams. The text uses true stories from various sources to illustrate that those who are in charge should be the ones who sacrifice the most. This book inspires coaches to follow in the steps of Marine Corps Generals and other great leaders who create circles of safety to protect their teams from outside dangers. 

3. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Collins’ Good to Great drives home the point of one simple concept: discipline. Discipline in all things – people, thought and action is the key to taking a ‘good’ company and making it great. The author preaches consistency in all areas over an extended amount of time. As well as demanding excellence, even when good enough will suffice.  

4. Essentialism by Greg McKeown

McKeown’s Essentialism is a guide to being more effective as a leader. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed, busy, unproductive, or cluttered, this is the book for you. The author details a simple way of life organization that helps leaders to eliminate distractions and focus their attention only on what is absolutely essential. This book restores the reader’s power to control their own day-to-day choices, time and energy, thus making them more capable and balanced leaders.

5. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team has sold over two million copies because of its unique approach to providing much-needed advice, in the form of a fable. The text covers five possible dysfunctions of a team: the absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. Lencioni also highlights contrasting behaviors of high performing teams to help leaders set goals to aspire to. 

Leaders work hard every day to manage teams and run companies. While such dedication is noble, it’s important to carve out time to focus on yourself. Commit to setting aside a few minutes of daily personal time to read these five leadership books to help your skills thrive.

Brad and Julie Duncan5 Books Every Leader Should Read

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