It has been said that you first have to learn to read, and then you can read to learn. Reading is an amazing leisure activity that stretches your brain and brings great relaxation and enjoyment; however, it can also be used as a tool to build on your strengths and develop your weaknesses as a manager. Being a lifelong learning and investing in leadership development books is bound to pay off.
Managers organize and run a workplace. However, there are many managers who do not lead. What does that mean? Leadership is a personality quality. Leaders encourage others to follow in their footsteps, to grow and develop as a part of the team. Leaders lead by example. They are not afraid to “get their hands dirty” and they take ownership of their actions. Leaders ask for help when necessary and empower their team to do the same.
How do you become a strong leader? How to do develop a team of people who work positively, efficiently, and collaboratively? There’s literature available on how to develop the qualities in yourself that can turn you into a successful leader.
The books detailed below are broken down into five categories: mindset development, emotional intelligence, financial intelligence, leadership development, and management skills. Choose the section which you would like to develop, grab a few on Amazon or at your local library, and get on leading!
Books on Mindset Development
Growth mindset means that you are never done learning or developing. A manager might be stuck in a fixed mindset, not ever wanting to become better or improve his/her team. A leader, on the other hand, will have a growth mindset, which allows them to take the strengths they already have and heighten them while choosing to grow in areas of weakness.
De-Clutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
This book details how to free yourself from the prison of a mind trapped by anxiety and negative emotions. Negativity breeds negativity and the opposite is true as well. If you want to improve your ways of thinking at work as well as in the rest of your life, this is a great place to start.
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
This #1 New York Times bestseller shows that it is actually beneficial to go against the status quo. World-changers aren’t followers, they are people who see a need and choose to do things differently to meet that need. If you want to know how to develop your creativity and become a world-changer, pick up this book.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, PhD
You can be the most talented, intelligent, creative person out there, but if your mindset is stuck in patterns that hold you back, none of those qualities will get you very far. The tools and tricks in this book will benefit you in all areas of your life, not just the workplace.
Books on Emotional Intelligence
Intra-personal intelligence (knowing your own emotions) and inter-personal intelligence (knowing other people’s emotions) are crucial to developing emotional intelligence. If you have this as a skill, you will be able to understand why others act, react, and respond the way they do and then go forward in a way that is helpful instead of a hindrance.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
This book became a household name for a reason. You’ve heard the saying “You can’t love others if you don’t love yourself.” Well, this goes along the same lines. Covey shows that you cannot change others if you are not willing to change yourself. Learn how to lead by example with this bestseller.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Frankl is a Holocaust survivor who uses his experiences to show that there is meaning in all areas of life, no matter the circumstances. If you want to take life by the horns and guide it in the direction of your dreams, then this is a perfect read.
The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin
Waitzkin has become an expert both at chess and at Tai Chi, two skills which require great discipline and concentration. He uses these life experiences as a metaphor for success in other areas of life. Pick this up and become inspired.
Books on Financial Intelligence
Every business has the bottom-line goal of being profitable. If you don’t know how money works or how it works for you, you are in danger of your business going belly up. Every person who owns or manages a company has the responsibility of becoming financially literate.
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson
We learn about history to know what mistakes not to repeat and what successes we want to emulate. This book gives the history of money in the modern world and covers examples of countries that have turned their wealth status around in a matter of decades. If you are interested in how money truly makes the world go round, this book is foundational reading.
Financial Intelligence: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean by Karen Berman and Joe Knight
If you are a financial newbie and need to know the basics before delving deeper into the financial world, then this is the place to start. Get all your financial ducks in a row so you never have to look up a term or definition again.
Books on Management Skills
You can have all the emotional, financial, and mindset intelligence out there, but if you don’t know how to apply those skills, you might still struggle. Books on management skills will help you determine the best ways to apply the skills that you have developed.
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Out of all successful companies out there, the majority would probably just fall into the category of “doing well.” But how do you rise to the very top, to be a company that isn’t worried about crashing, to be one that others look up to as a model for success? This book puts together all the qualities you and your business need to solidify a spot for yourself among the cream of the crop.
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
As other books on this list have also mentioned, it might be important to take a page out of previously successful businesses’ books or develop similar leadership qualities to others; however, it is equally as important to nurture your own individual traits that make you ‘you.’ How do you create something unique, new, and cutting-edge that everyone is going to need the moment they see it? Pick up a copy of Purple Cow and find out.
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
In marketing, there is a theory that businesses fall into two categories: ‘red oceans,’ which are businesses that have tough competition and a saturated market, and ‘blue oceans,’ which are businesses that have a product so different that they are in a class by themselves. Competition is not even something they have to think about, and can thus focus their energy elsewhere to develop a good business. Read this book to learn how to be in the blue ocean.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
David Allen’s book has become so popular that he trademarked the phrase “Getting Things Done.” If you want to learn how to be successful without having to have your nose to the grindstone the entire time, and how to rid your life of the distractions getting in your way, then pick up a copy of this book. It will give you step-by-step directions for a plan for success.
Books on Leadership Development
All of the above qualities together would put together a good leader. Some of our culture’s leader role models, however, are simply great leaders overall. These books will give you a foundational knowledge of all things “leadership.”
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Talk about a classic. This book has been making the rounds for two and a half centuries, and its lessons still ring true today. If you want to know when to stand up and when to back down, when to be flexible and when to stay strong, how to determine weakness and strength in your enemy and in yourself… this is a book that will change your life.
Strengths-Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie
This book takes many examples of solid, successful leadership from the past (individuals, businesses, teams, etc.) and explains what made them stand out from the rest as well as why people chose to go alongside them. Pick it up if you want to become one of those leaders.
There are many areas that can be developed in yourself as well as your team to turn you into a better leader and to encourage you to turn your team managers into leaders as well. Choose any number of these books and reap the benefits now and for the rest of your career.