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6 Best Books on Leadership: Earn Power & Respect

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Being a leader isn’t an easy role, but so much hinges on how well you do it. The way you manage doesn’t only direct the resources of the company or organization toward goals and achievements, but you’re responsible for bringing clarity of purpose, motivation, and even inspiration. Your style of leading is a major factor in how the people you lead feel about their roles, how they do their jobs, how well people work together, and ultimately, whether the organization succeeds. 

Whether you’re a budding leader or you have been doing this for a while, staying fresh and open to innovative thinking and methods will determine your efficacy. So, here are five of the best books on leadership to help you earn power and respect.  

Related: The Three Phases of Change Management

Best Books on Leadership

Making Yourself Indispensable

In Making Yourself Indispensable, Mark Samuel addresses every person, from leader to employee to entrepreneur to parent or friend, teaching anyone from any walk of life how to be more accountable. In the first part of the book, he takes the reader through the insightful “Wheel of Indispensability”, laying out 6 choices that we can make daily, both in the minutia of our lives as well as on a grander scale. The choices that made the biggest impact on me were the choice to Play Big or Play Small, be Adaptable or Rigid, and be We Centered or Me Centered. Mark gives real examples of how each choice can play out in life, making the work feel more grounded rather than philosophical.

Mark then spends the rest of the book describing an incredibly detailed model of exactly how people go in and out of being accountable. He doesn’t shame people for going into what he calls the “victim loop” rather than the “accountability loop”, stating that it’s normal human behavior to want to avoid accountability sometimes. But he lays out how to make accountable choices, simply by acknowledging problems, forgiving ourselves and others rather than placing blame, learning from our mistakes, and taking different action next time.

 What I love most about this book is how it merges the philosophical with the practical. As I read through, I can identify situations in my own life in which I’ve not been as accountable as I should have been as well as situations where I’ve done a pretty good job. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to make real change in their life to grow as a person, at their job, or even in their relationships.

Dare to Lead

Brené Brown has done it again! In Dare to Lead, she addresses those of you who are ready to step into leadership. She defines what authentic leadership is, its potential to impact people’s lives positively, and how it can make a significant difference. 

In true Brené form, this book lays a foundation for authentic leadership. True leaders don’t pretend to have all the answers, they’re open and curious, and they know (or learn) how to ask the right questions. Real leaders don’t hold tight to their power. They’re willing to share it because they know sharing won’t diminish their portion. A real leader becomes comfortable, not only with authority but also with accountability

Brown acknowledges the current tenants of leadership in the context of culture – fear, scarcity, and uncertainty. But she explains that leaning into vulnerability is necessary for humane, empathetic, and courageous leadership. 

Dare to Lead will show you the way to develop your mind and heart for leadership. You will get actionable strategies in this book to turn you into the leader you have always wanted to be. 

Do you need help creating a work environment where your employees feel comfortable taking accountability? Contact B STATE to learn more. 

Start With Why

Simon Sinek answers the questions we’ve been asking – why are some organizations so much more influential, innovative, and profitable than others? Why do some leaders command enviable respect, power, and loyalty, while others don’t?  

Sinek has studied leaders with the most influence globally and recognized that they all act, think, and communicate in similar ways. Surprisingly, these success strategies are the opposite of what the rest of us are doing. He refers to this process as The Golden Circle, and other companies and organizations can build on it to lead movements, inspire people, and see similar success. And it all begins with WHY. 

Reading this book, you’ll realize that while every organization can tell you what they do and some can explain how they do it, there are only a few that can tell you their WHY. To be clear, their WHY can’t be about money or profits – those are just the result. The WHY has to do with why the company exists, why it does what it does, why customers are attracted to them, and why people are loyal to the leader. This book will help you to find your WHY and build up from there. 

Related: 8 Personal Accountability Habits of a Great Leader  

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t

This book is the culmination of a five-year study to discover the fundamentals of greatness. Along with a 21-person research team, Jim Collins generated over 2,000 pages of interview transcripts, created 384 megabytes of data, and read and coded 6,000 articles. The findings were eye-opening. Collins concluded that it is possible to go from good to great.   

His conclusion is significant because previously, it was accepted that excellent companies have what it takes to be great. Still, it was doubtful that the more mediocre (or even bad) companies could make the leap.  

This well-written book provides ideas for turning a long-term unexceptional organization into something extraordinary. The characteristics of such superior companies are clearly outlined, along with examples like Intel, Coca-Cola, General Electric, and Merck. 

This book is a must-read for anyone serious about leadership. 

Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence

This book, by Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, explains the importance of emotional intelligence (EI) in leadership. EI can be learned, and this book demonstrates the EI competencies, as well as related leadership styles. Our emotions are a primal part of our brain’s operation, and they are core to our higher functions.  

Resonant leaders operate with emotional intelligence and, as a result, can inspire the best in people and get a high level of performance. They use EI to create environments where employees can be creative, innovative, and productive. 

The profound insights in this book extend beyond business and have been used by professional coaches, training programs, and higher education institutions. This book will revolutionize your leadership, and your teams will thank you for reading it!  

Developing The Leader Within You 2.0

This book is the revised and expanded version of John C. Maxwell’s classic of the same name released twenty-five years ago. This book has two additional chapters, plus new insights and practices to align it with contemporary business. 

This book won’t just transform your leadership; it will give you skills to maximize your personal life. The power principles may be applied to any arena – business, non-profits, church, and family. You will have the tools and knowledge to create positive change all around you. 

You’ll benefit from Maxwell’s 40 plus years as a leader, helping you to develop a clear vision, self-discipline, integrity, and wisdom. He compares the differences in leadership styles, and he lays out a path to excellence if you’re willing to take it. You will learn how to inspire, motivate, and influence those around and under your leadership – no matter the form of that leadership. 

If you read the original book, you will love this revised version. 

Related: What is Change Management?

Final Thoughts: Books on Leadership

The best leaders of our time are always looking for ways to upgrade their skills and improve their methods. The above books will enhance your management style and see your life and organization positively maximized.  

Do you want to transform your company’s culture to be more productive? Check out the proven strategies at B STATE to learn more.

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