Leadership books are standard in today’s corporate culture. Since there are so many to choose from, it may be confusing to decide on your next great read/listen. And, I would argue that there is more than a list of top 5 leadership books.
However, you can’t read everything, so it’s better to narrow the list to prioritize your next great reads.
These books are critical to today’s leaders. Each book highlights an element of accountability, habit creation, and communication techniques that are challenging to find in today’s professional environment.
Although good leaders strive to read what they can, it’s not always obvious which books to consider for professional development.
There are many great leadership books, but there are five that stand out from the rest. Here are my top 5 leadership books.
Written by former Navy SEALS Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, Extreme Ownership outlines how accountability creates great leaders. The authors highlight their experiences and apply them to corporate.
Moreover, the concepts Extreme Ownership teaches are life-changing. Leaders must accept responsibility for failure. If something is wrong, then the leader needs to fix it.
Leaders are at their best when they understand a problem and find the solution, and that is the book’s central message.
Mostly, Extreme Ownership makes you think about the areas of your life and how you can improve them by being accountable to yourself.
If you want to read a full review of Extreme Ownership, click here.
Start With Why
As one of the greatest leadership minds of our generation, Simon Sinek breaks down why the best companies continue to thrive while others wither away. Success isn’t contingent upon growth or cost-cutting. Instead, companies should exist because they believe in something.
Start With Why expertly explains how good work cultures will find continued success because they want to fulfill their purpose. People thrive off drive and passion, which leaders can provide with the proper direction and motivation.
Additionally, Sinek presents his unique idea about the Golden Circle of safety. The Golden Circle metaphor sustains Sinek’s idea that people need an emotionally comfortable environment in which to work.
Contrary to popular belief, a great work culture doesn’t consist of the best performers in previous jobs or school. Instead, people who believe in the company’s mission and are willing to work for it are the best fits for companies. Sinek emphasizes the Golden Circle idea throughout the book.
Sinek walks the audience through the chemistry of safe work cultures and how leaders can create such environments in their workplaces. As far as leadership books go, this is one of the best.
Read a full review of Start With Why here.
Turn the Ship Around
Retired Navy Captain David Marquet’s powerful account of his experience as a nuclear submarine captain shows how leaders can either make or break an organization. Marquet’s twist of fate had him commanding the worst submarine in the Navy called the USS Santa Fe.
Commanding the USS Santa Fe required an astute leader with an ability to adapt to changing environments. Turn the Ship Around provides a unique perspective on leadership by persuading leaders to delegate authority to subordinates who have the information. In short, don’t give orders. Delegate responsibility instead.
Marquet’s theme throughout the book is empowerment. The more leaders delegate authority to the information holders, the more successful an organization can become. Although the idea sounds great, it takes a lot of work.
Marquet’s experiences in Turn The Ship Around go against the typical leadership stigma where the leader must have all of the answers and drive the team toward success.
Instead, Marquet’s leader-leader model, where everyone is a leader within their position, causes people to take pride in their work and will then support the organization.
Reading Turn the Ship Around will provide a new perspective for all audiences, whether you’re in a leadership position or not.
Read a full review of Turn the Ship Around here.
The Power of Habit
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg describes the habit loop as an individual cycle to make and break habits. In turn, these routines can be hijacked to create new habits that improve personal performance.
Duhigg provided several examples of how we use habits to move throughout our lives. Personal rituals can support organizational practices if channeled effectively.
Duhigg returns to the habit loop often in The Power of Habit. And, more importantly, the book provides adequate solutions for defeating bad habits by replacing them with good ones.
Leaders can apply this habit loop to their organizations. Duhigg’s extensive research shows that companies can use habits to improve their organizations and be successful.
Read a full review of The Power of Habit here.
Brief: Make a Bigger Impact By Saying Less
A lesser-known book by Joe McCormack is instrumental in today’s business world. In a corporate culture where meetings are too long, and emails are unclear, Brief is a welcomed relief for any audience.
McCormack offers his audience a way to improve communication drastically. Most people have trouble sitting through hours of meetings when most of those could have been emails anyway. Also, McCormack’s methods for condensing information are critical for today’s bite-sized media consumption model.
More compelling, McCormack’s suggestions to his audiences are revolutionary to today’s digital world. For instance, McCormack advocates for turning off notifications from cell phones to better concentrate on tasks. Also, he advises his audience to prepare thoroughly for briefs and meetings to avoid over-explaining a concept or sales pitch.
Read a full review of Brief here.
These five books can change the way you view leadership. Applying the principles of these books to your leadership style will enable you to better maneuver throughout your workspace to be more effective at your job.
Whichever book you choose, remember that books are here to remind us of past lessons and solve current problems. So, keep reading and see where your literature journey takes you.
What leadership books have you enjoyed? What are your top five leadership books? Thanks for reading!
Featured Image: Oladimeji Ajegbile