Leadership is not easy. It comes with its fair share of confusion, challenges and setbacks. Luckily, you aren’t the first person who has ever wondered if they have the potential to become a leader.
Here are nine books that will help you learn to become the kind of leader you have always wanted to be.
1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
What makes a good leader so great at leading their teams to victory? Actually, more so than anything else, it’s their habits. This classic book outlines the habits all people should adopt if they wish to develop the characteristics of a good as well as an effective leader, everything from managing healthy relationships to managing time and money. Setting a good example for others in all aspects of life is one of the things that makes people amazing potential leaders.
2. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton Christensen
Even leaders who do everything by the books often face failure in the business world. Why is that? It’s most likely because “the way everyone else does it” or “the way we have always done it” is very rarely an effective strategy for standing out and making a difference in a specific niche or market. Whether you already know it or not, good leadership often involves coloring outside the lines – for the good of the organization as a whole, of course. Innovation is all about daring to do things differently, and learning how to think creatively, yet highly strategically. That is what this book will teach you.
3. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
Why do some businesses fail while others succeed? In some ways, it is all about a company’s top leadership. This book summarizes the methodologies and findings of a study conducted in the 1990s which aimed to figure out what makes successful companies so successful. Within these findings emerges a list of the notable qualities of leaders who have the potential to build, run and/or rebuild great companies. Figure out whether or not you meet these qualifications and learn what it takes to be the kind of leader who can turn a so-so business into a successful and thriving one.
This is a book meant for any kind of current or future leader, meant to encourage anyone and everyone to allow themselves to be vulnerable. When we are vulnerable, we are at our best in many ways: our most creative, our most daring and our most emotionally sound. The more vulnerable we are, the more we take the time to understand how others are reacting to certain situations as well, which makes for not only amazing, but highly effective long term leadership.
5. The Truth About Leadership The No-fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
This book, as you may have already managed to guess, is a leadership guide that quite literally tells readers all they need to know about what it really means to be the leader of an organization or team. The book outlines various strategies and scientifically proven facts about how people interact, how people work together and how you can be the most effective and trustworthy leader your team members have ever worked with.
6. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Here’s the honest truth: not everyone you cross paths with in your lifetime is going to like you. Similarly, you are not going to hit it off with every single person you ever come into contact with, not even the people you live near or work a cubicle or two away from. Possibly one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding parts of becoming a leader is learning how to influence people around you, whether you are particularly fond of them or not. Working toward a common goal means everyone is on the same page, not necessarily in one collective friend group. This book will teach you how to be a more likeable leader, but it will also teach you how to be a good leader even to those who will never favor you no matter what you do to try and win them over.
7. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
Persistence, and determination that does not allow for giving up, can carry you and your team much farther than you think it can. Who knows? It may even help keep your team and/or organization alive. This book tells the true story of how effective leadership led to survival in the wilderness during a polar exploration. Inspirational in nature, the book shows that corporate leaders and entrepreneurs alike can accomplish much more when they do not allow themselves, or those who follow them, to quit.
8. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
Behind every great leader is not only the drive to get things done, but the determination to help others figure out what is going to motivate them to get things done right along side them. This book teaches aspiring leaders the things that most often drive us as humans to work hard, set and achieve goals. It sheds light on the most important things to focus on while developing your own personal leadership strategy to create a company culture and environment that works.
9. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
What makes customers happy? Often, it’s quality products and customer service, which requires happy employees to carry out successfully. What makes employees happy? It helps, for one thing, if their overseeing leader is happy. This book will teach you the kinds of qualities required in a leader that promotes passion and purpose in everything they do. Great leaders outline a mission for their organizations and carry that mission out with everyone’s best interest in mind, not just their own.
Leadership may be complicated, but becoming a good leader is possible, and well worth the effort.