Expert advice on Business Leadership and tips on becoming a more effective Leader.

10 Books That Will Develop Your Leadership Qualities

There is not any book written that is a solution for all. Each human is different, and different things work for each of us individually. A lot of these books share the same principles; however all of them deliver their message in a unique way. Don’t pick and choose which book you think will help you.

Start by reading one you may have heard of before and never got a chance to read then make your way down the list. The books are listed in no particular order, but are all designed to help you gain, develop and master your leadership qualities.

1) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey

This book is an all-time great with over 10 million copies sold worldwide, which was designed by an internationally recognized authority on leadership. Covey’s guide to the “paradigm shift” and his timeless approach to the key to success hinging upon the balance of personal and professional effectiveness will prove a prerequisite for all your leadership success. Perceive this book as a workbook to be used to re-evaluate your life on a habitual schedule and watch your work ethic bridge the gap between productivity & effectiveness.

2) How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People is another classic that was published back in October of 1936. It’s stood the test of time and its principles are stout and clearly represented in the stories associated with each chapter; however, one must keep everything in perspective. This was written in the 30’s and this day and age is far removed from that time.

Keep in mind there’s an unpublished chapter of the book that speaks on how these techniques just simply will not work on certain people. He urges you to recognize when you come into contact with someone who, no matter what you do or how you treat them, will never be won over, and advises you to simply do not associate with them.

3) Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
by Simon Sinek

Remember when you were three to five years old and you always asked “why?” to everything? ‘Why ‘is the most powerful question word in the world and Simon Sinek is recognized this. Sinek found that it’s one of the single most important reasons why some companies, leaders, men and women full of outrageous amounts of talent create a following and turn that following into a legacy. It all starts with why.

4) The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness
by Jeff Olson and John David Mann

Jeff Olsen, with the help of John David Mann, is masterful at delivering a way of thinking that will take the leadership qualities you discover from the other texts from this list and put them into action to achieve results you would’ve never believed you could before. Although we all want to achieve that highest level of achievement we’ve dreamed about, Olsen shows us here in The Slight Edge that those who do only reach those achievements because they’ve habituated a daily routine which walks them towards that goal, one day at a time.

5) The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (10th Anniversary Edition)
by John C. Maxwell and Steven R. Covey

Have you ever stopped and wondered if your boss actually plays by the rules? It’s a good question to ask yourself, and while you’re mulling it over, absorbing the laws of yet another classic, evaluate your boss to your mentor or icon and see how many of the 21 laws of leadership they embody. Who embodies more of these laws? Will you decide to not only go so far as to learning these laws but to applying them?

6) Leadership and the Art of Struggle: How Great Leaders Grow Through Challenge and Adversity
by Steven Snyder

It is puzzling to know that the masses will cheer and applaud you for your successes but often are at a loss for words when you’re sharing your difficulties and most uncomfortable situations. Possibly it is because these adversities you speak of they’ve faced in their own lives but weren’t competent or confident enough to overcome them. Snyder’s book is based on the principle of thriving and growing through your most challenging moments, a quality that all great leaders exemplify.

7) The Pause Principle: Step Back to Lead Forward
by Kevin Cashman

A powerfully composed and written book by Cashman which asserts that to lead forward one must master a process of pausing more deeply to analyze as many perspectives as possible before making a decision in our dynamic, global marketplace. By taking a deliberate, well thought out pause, you’ll be able to make your executive decisions with more confidence, increased innovation and an impact that reaches further throughout the world.

8) Man’s Search for Meaning, Gift Edition
by Viktor E. Frankl

Logotherapy, the theory that Frankl proposes in this book through his gripping story of life in Nazi death camps, suggests that the primary drive in human life isn’t pleasure, as suggested by Freud, but is the discovery of what we personally find meaningful. This book made it to this list because, as mentioned above, overcoming struggles is one thing; however, finding meaning in every obstacle that is set before you catapults you to a higher level of acceptance and understanding of the world you live in and forces you to ask yourself what you can offer the world.

9) The Truth about Leadership: The No-fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know
by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

Kouzes and Posner leadership assessment is based on thirty years of research and has received more than one million positive responses. In this book they will present to you what every leader must known, questions you’ll have to be prepared to answer and real-world problems that you’ll face. This book is great for building up a fence around those newly built leadership qualities so that you protect them and do not allow them to diminish as time surges forward.

10) Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t
by Jim Collins

In short, Collins performed a study in the nineties that asked and answered how long-term mediocrity evolved into long-term superiority. The findings have boiled down to five key points: having level 5 leaders, transcending the curse of competence otherwise known as “The Hedgehog Concept”, combining discipline with an entrepreneurship ethic, technology accelerators, which is just thinking differently about the role of technology in your company, and avoiding radical change programs, which has proven to almost guarantee the failure of a company making the leap from good to great.

So there you have it, 10 of the most profound books that will teach you how to reach leadership greatness. Now the only question remaining is this: will you personify and apply all that you’ve learned to achieve it and be one of the front-runners towards leading our world to a greater place?
Jessica Millis, a freelance writer, blog editor on writing blog and educator at JMU. She draws inspiration from books and arthouse movies.

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