Must Read Books on Leadership:
Our Top Picks for Supervisors
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey, Simon and Schuster, 1989.
In the management and leadership genre, this is one of the most influential and important books of the latter half of the twentieth-century. Covey’s book is a classic that gives the reader a great deal of practical advice on how to build personal success starting from the inside and moving outward. No one can be successful in leadership without working on their own personal development. If you read only one classic, this is the one to read!
The Speed of Trust, by Stephen M.R. Covey, Free Press, 2006
This “Stephen Covey” is the son of Stephen R. Covey (7-Habits). This book is destined to become as much of a classic as his father’s. His purpose is to teach organizations how to see, speak, and behave in ways that build trust. Trust directly impacts speed and cost, the two most significant drivers of organizational bottom line. The book begins with strategies that build trust from the inside out, in ever-widening circles of influence. It includes self-assessment checklists for individuals and for organizations. And it has a chapter on each of 13 behaviors that work together to build trust. The lessons shared apply equally to personal and professional life.
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, by John C. Maxwell, Nelson Business, 1998.
Maxwell reveals, perhaps, his most powerful and succinct leadership lessons from his years of personal experience. Each principle is illustrated with an interesting (and sometimes little known) incident from prominent leaders and organizations. Like all John Maxwell’s books, this one is filled with simple and sensible advice—the kinds of ideas one can use in daily life, whether on the job or off.
Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, Harvard Business School Press, 2002.
Goleman is well-known for helping business make the connection between emotions and business results. In this volume the authors explore the idea that the leader’s emotions are contagious and significantly impact the bottom line. The most effective leaders connect with others, especially in the areas of creating vision and providing coaching. These authors clearly explain the ideal characteristics of an effective leader in the 21st century.
1001 Ways to Reward Employees, by Bob Nelson, Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 1994
This book is chockfull of simple and inexpensive ways to provide rewards and incentives to employees. Since recognition and appreciation from their direct supervisor is the most preferred reward for employees overall, this book is an excellent read. Study it. Many of these suggested rewards cost nothing, yet they have a profound impact on performance and employee retention and help you to get the results you seek.
Leading with Questions: How Leaders Find the Right Solutions by Knowing What to Ask, by Michael Marquardt, Jossey-Bass, 2005
Leaders often believe they are supposed to have all the answers. Not so, says this author. This book calls questions by the leader “the ultimate leadership tool.” A leader who fails to ask questions risks distortions of reality. In addition, not asking question bypasses opportunities to solve short-term problems while generating long-term learning and improvement. You can learn how to ask the right questions that will motivate employees, build teamwork, and even promote change. The management style portrayed in this book is a coaching style, one of the most effective styles for today’s world.
First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, Simon and Schuster, 1999.
Although the successful managers of the world appear at first to be very different, each achieves outstanding results by ignoring conventional wisdom. This book reveals the importance of selecting employees based on talent, rather than just skills or experience. The authors also explain how to set high expectations, define the right results, and motivate others by building on strengths. Based on research with thousands of managers, this book provides practical advice and dozens of real-life examples.
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