Being a leader is not as simple or luxurious as it sounds. While many professionals dream of becoming a person of merit in the workplace, it doesn't come easy. With a highly-respected title comes even higher expectations, which can be daunting – especially for new leaders.
All leaders need support and guidance along their journey, including our own Business.com community members. Thankfully, they don't have to look much further than their bookshelves. Here are five must-read books for leaders.
1. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Ever wonder why some businesses thrive while others struggle? "Start with Why" (Penguin Group, 2009) inspires business owners and managers alike to stay true to their goals as a leader. Simon Sinek, author, motivation speaker and marketing consultant, studied influential leaders, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Steve Jobs, and found one thing they all have in common: purpose. Sinek reminds readers to focus on what's most important to them, and why they started in the first place.
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2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Businessman and author Stephen R. Covey recognizes that there are many obstacles faced by leaders today, including the flaws of human nature. By channeling his own experiences, he outlines principals that help leaders become more effective and adaptable, and advance in their career by seizing opportunities. "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" (Free Press, 1989) empowers leaders through honest stories and disciplinary lessons.
3. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
"Lean In" (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) was written by the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, specifically for women. The business world can be intimidating for women, especially those in industries where the majority of leaders are men. In this now-famous book, Sandberg discusses the reasons why her fellow female professionals are struggling making progress in leadership. She provides empowering solutions and inspiring ways to get more women in leadership positions.
4. The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations (6th Edition)
"The Leadership Challenge" (John Wiley & Sons, 2017) is the 6th edition to its older publication, which sold more than 2 million copies in more than 20 languages. Authors James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner conducted extensive research and discussed how to nurture leadership, and the difference between a good leader and a great leader. The new edition covers current organizational challenges, today's work trends and international examples of extraordinary leaders.
5. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box Paperback (2nd Edition)
"Leadership and Self-Deception" (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2010) confronts the issues we create ourselves, like constraints and barriers that prevent us from reaching our full potential. The Arbinger Institute proved that through integrity and humility, you will become a better leader and individual, benefiting both your professional and personal life. They focused on concepts like team building, conflict resolution, personal growth and more.