In a rapidly evolving business world, effective leadership is more important than ever – here are a few great leadership books you need in your life.
From easy-reads to heavyweight leadership bibles, the vast array of publications on the subject of management mean there’s something out there for everyone.
The One Minute Manager
By Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson – 1982
Ranking as one of the most successful management and leadership books, this is the perfect choice for those with limited time (or attention spans).
The easy-read describes three practical management techniques – One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings and One Minute Reprimands.
Each management technique is coupled with information extracted from behavioural science studies, explaining the method behind their effectiveness.
Branded timeless by critics, it seems this book provides a concise guide to effective leadership in a rapidly changing world.
First, Break All the Rules
By Curt Coffman and Marcus Buckingham – 2005
Not for the faint-hearted, this book promotes the cynical truth behind leadership. The authors focus on the importance of utilising favourites rather than investing in employees in the hope that they will overcome weaknesses.
Focussing on measuring the link between employee opinions and rate of turnover, the book emphasises the importance of great managers.
Structurally, the book is broken down into twelve simple questions aimed at distinguishing the strongest departments of a company.
Famed for challenging basic beliefs on strong leadership using empirical evidence, First, Break All the Rules has been branded ‘an unshakable foundation of effective management’.
Strengths Based Leadership
By Tom Rath – 2009
Heavily experience based, this is one of the best leadership books. Featuring in depth interviews with more than 50,000 leaders and 20,000 followers, this is one to check out. These first-hand accounts lay the foundations for a reliable guide to effective leadership.
Three tricks to being a more effective leader are identified in this publication: knowing your strengths, getting the right talents on your team, and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.
Enclosed in each print is a unique code, enabling readers to take an online ‘strengths’ assessment. After identifying five strengths of the reader, the process provides strategies for maximising on these characteristics.
For those who are searching for a positive guide based on direct experience, Strengths Based Leadership is a safe choice.
Good to Great
By Jim Collins – 2009
Described as ‘a management book full of vital ideas that reads well as a fast-paced novel’, Collins’ book identifies factors that allow companies to make the transition from merely good, to great.
Although a subjective term, the book measures ‘great’ as financial performance exceeding market average over a sustained period of time. Along with a research team, Collins evaluated a handful of companies fulfilling this criterion and published their tricks.
The tip transcending all nine chapters is that leaders must define a narrow objective and ensure that resources are channelled accordingly. The book warns of straying from strengths and finally links to conclusions drawn in Collins’ previous book, Built to Last.
Jim Collins describes how key concepts in Good to Great ‘fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people’, but it seems his findings are impossible to ignore.
The No Asshole Rule
Robert Sutton – 2010
Subsequent to his comments for Harvard Business Review, Sutton’s ‘no asshole rule’ became a popular business practice, leading to the writing of this book.
His message is clear and simple: bosses overlooking bad behaviour by high-achievers is ineffective and results in compromised overall productivity.
A review in the Observer brands this book ‘an entertaining and important… blow for humanity as well as management’.
The book is concise and conversational, drawing on case-study, anecdote and business psychology to provide insightful solutions for toxic workplace scenarios.
The No Asshole Rule makes for a humorous but poignant read regarding leadership improvements.